Tag Archives: Mind Map

Brainstorming: Where to Begin

I don’t know about you but waiting for acceptance or rejection can stress me out. To fill in my time I decided to start another project. My first step is brainstorming.

Everyone has a different angle when it comes to this. I’ve made a little list of squirrel-304021_1280_nobgwhere to begin:

  • Play the ‘What if…’ game
    • With me this starts off with daydreaming. I’m looking out a window or up at the sky letting my imagination loose. I come up with too many wacky ideas and write them all down. I’ll sift through them later hoping it sparks something that gets my writing juices going.
  • Write about a place, object or person
    • Here is a little different. I focus on one place, person, or thing and describe the heck out of it. Slowly expanding its history, why’s its where it is and what affect it has on the things around it. I have landed up writing about magic, dragons, and places faraway.
  • Write with only tone and atmosphere in mind
    • When I start here, I’m feeling some emotion that has unsettled me and I need to get it out of my system. It will be black, angry, gloomy and sometimes dangerous. I let my fingers speed along as I do my best to capture the darkness. This almost always leads to a murder and the surrounding mystery.
  • Draw out a mind map
    • I use this more of the second stage of brainstorming, but I know that’s just me and many people go straight to the drawing paper and jot down ideas and how they make link together. It can be very colorful and expressive. Here’s a link to download FreeMind (mind mapping software)
  • Spend time with a plot generator
    • Can’t think of one idea or where to begin. There are generators for everything today. Need a name of person, place or thing? It’s on the web somewhere.
  • Read the newspaper, a magazine, or book and wait for inspiration
    • Some stories start as close to the real world as possible. Some are going to take us on a ride we didn’t know possible. Sometime letting go and reading about what is happening in our town, province, state or country is all it takes to start spinning the next tale.

storm in a cup cropEvery time I’m looking for a new idea I begin with a list like this. I never use the same technique two times in a row. I’m thinking that we need to click with the story idea on many levels.

I don’t just write one type of story. What about you? Where do you begin? When do you know you’ve hit gold?

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