Tag Archives: Writing Prompts

Brainstorming: How Ideas Become Writing Prompts

If you are looking for part one click here.

Brainstorming is getting every idea (good or bad, brilliant or dim, old or inspired) down on paper or your computer screen. It can take hours; or if you’re lucky, it can take minutes. But once that is done, then what?

Once I have my list of every possible writing idea jotted down, I highlight anything that appeals to me. These ideas are what I test for substance. If they pass the test they become my writing prompts.

For Plots

Can the idea be expanded into a possible plot or subplot.  Is the idea wild or off beat enough to make the story fresh or unique? Can I see it adding flavor to a oldtree-151444 idea? Can I imagine writing 65k about that one thing?

Here I usually answer in bullet points and see where they lead. (Sometimes its the questions that creates new writing ideas or writing prompts.)

There is a great section in Now Novel called Story Tester. It asks some excellent questions. Gets the mind working on whether the prompt has enough power to carry a short, novella or novel.  Some ideas are meant to be tacked on as a subplot.

For Characters

Some brainstorming ideas hover around people, places or things. Places and things are usually the focus of a character’s reaction to them. These reactions can carry a plot. Think unexpected murdered body, or abandoned baby, or fancy new car with keys in the ignition. It is the characters strong reaction and writer’s focus on what they do next that can drive a story into creation.


The writing prompt expands the brainstorming epiphanies into something useable. Odds floral-304056_1280are I’ll put a few together and let my imagination go wild. Its a good time to explore my outside comfort zone. Stretch those wings. Break free and make something unique. It doesn’t really matter where it goes.

You and I know that revision is when we worry about that. 🙂

When you find story ideas do you put several ideas together? Maybe you sling two genres together and pants it. Or are you more like me and bullet point forward?

Gleaned from: