Brainstorming and Writing Ideas

doodle_bI think of January as a time of new beginnings and when I start a new project I like to brainstorm as many ideas as I can. Some of the things I try are: mind mapping, doodling, running what if scenarios, listing random ideas, reading the newspaper, researching a place or thing, and playing with plotting generators.

My goal is to bring together enough random ideas that go together, or don’t, and break them down to see how they may fit.

If I’m are unhappy with the results I’ll change location to a: coffee shop, play ground, riverbank, bench on a busy street, pub or library. It doesn’t really matter.

The trick is to breakthrough the usual barriers and find a new place doodle_cwhere fresh ideas ignite the creator in me. I’ll list several inciting incidents, possible twists, and unexpected/unavoidable outcomes.

Once the links are made, I aim at an audience. Knowing who you are writing for makes it easier for the publisher/agent to sell your project.

Brainstorming doesn’t stop when my writing begins. It continues throughout the whole process. If I’m hit by a new idea as I work, I take a look. No doubt something inspired me.

I’m not saying go off track, but be aware. Our brains are wonderful things and whether we are aware or not they will take us where we need to go.

What do you do to bring ideas to your writing?

doodle_aGleaned from:


31 responses to “Brainstorming and Writing Ideas

  1. I have trouble defining my writing for an audience. Paranormal fantasy with adventure, mystery, and some mild romance, Gothic space opera, inspirational but narrowing the target audience I find hard because it’s rather a smorgasbord of fiction genres.

    I also cannot allow self to think I am writing to someone or it freezes me up. I have to write for me to enjoy it and feel free to give my characters free rein.

    However I agree with that and read that is the way, but I find it really hard to master and define for myself.

    I also have trouble writing other places, brainstorming yes, but actual writing I get too distracted by things around me.

    Great post.
    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

    • Juneta, you don’t have to pin your work to one genre or age group, but it will be harder to pitch and harder to sell.

      Writing for yourself is most important. It is where our passions thrive. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. A useful post. I haven’t been able to write anything for a couple of months now. Perhaps one of your ideas or links will boost me out of that rut.

  3. I have started to explore flash fiction this month. My goal is two to three pieces a week. I scroll through Pinterest and combine two interesting thoughts to generate my characters and short stories. I am quite pleased so far.

  4. Knowing your audience before you write is always a good idea.

    Most of my ideas have come from dreams. They provide infinite possibilities.

  5. I’ve been working on revisions, solidifying the foundation and logic of my story. I moved from my desk to the kitchen island where I could walk around a bit more. I think it helped. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Sounds like you have a plan and it’s working. Always helpful to share thoughts and ideas. Ya never know what might help. ๐Ÿ™‚
    sherry @ fundinmental

  7. Almost all of my ideas come to me while I’m writing stories or watching TV. Since I’m a slow writer i come up with ideas far more quickly than I finish stories, so I’m not worried about running out.

  8. My ideas often shift even if I have a detailed plan.

  9. I like to keep notepads by me, and when an idea hits I quickly jot it down to address later.

  10. For long fiction, I have to know my characters first. I just keep reading and researching until my protagonist(s) present themselves. Once I have the charactersโ€”the trajectory of their arcsโ€”the plot develops organically. That may sound easy-peasy, but it took two years before the characters showed up for the novel I’m about to start writing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. You know, I donโ€™t know. I guess I just sort of do a lot of mental โ€œwhat ifs?โ€ with my characters. Plus, if Iโ€™m writing historiical, then thereโ€™s research involved and Iโ€™m like, โ€œWell, what are my characters are doing with this?โ€

    Granted, Iโ€™m revising a short story right now and some of the brainstorming there came from a beta reader, which was definitely food for thought.

  12. You know I really like that idea, Anna, of starting the new year by doodling and collecting the inspiration from the ether! I might do some of that, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Our brains are really wonderful things. So many times, mine gives me the answer in unexpected ways.

  14. Sometimes those random ideas produce some very interesting stories.

  15. Pingback: Bringing New Life to an Old Story | elements of emaginette

  16. I love how we are all so similar yet so different. I’m like some of the others, I can’t easily move to a new location unless I’m going to be there a few months. It’s all in the chair. If I’m not comfortable, my back screams bloody murder and stops me from concentrating. If I wasn’t so lazy it would also help. Everything distracts me these days.

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