As a writer or any kind of artist, brainstorming is something we’re all familiar with. There are moments that inspiration hits us like a thunderbolt, but there are plenty of times that we have to resort to brainstorming exercises. Here are a few that can lure the muse to your writing desk.
First of all, I really love using images and it helps me to make a Pinterest board with images that suit the idea of my novel. Even if I don’t have characters or a plot lined up, it helps me to search images related to a certain theme or setting I have in mind. You can easily combine this with a mindmap to get the ideas flowing.
Another way could be to use a voice recorder and just start talking. Throw in a lot of what-ifs and try to keep the ball rolling. Even if 70% is jibberish that you won’t use again, there will still be 30% that you can use. And 30% is better than 0. It may be odd to talk to nobody but yourself, but you get used to it. You can also use a friend or SO to talk to, but it’s handy to record it either way and listen back. Listening back can inspire you even if at that moment it didn’t.
If you already have an idea of a character you can interview them. You can either write this out as a scene or you can write down the questions first and then pretend you’re the character and answer them. This is a good way to get to know your character. By being a shrink you get to go deeper than just a what-are-your-hobbies conversation.
Finally, a fun way to get the ideas flying is to have three jars (or just stacks of post-its or notecards) filled with small pieces of paper with words on them. Three jars, one for problems, one for secreat fears, and one for stakes (so something the main character could risk losing). You also have to write down the words yourself. If it’s difficult just start with a problem, a secret fear, and stakes from a novel you’ve read. The jars don’t have to be filled to the brim (they don’t even have to be jars). All that matters is that you can randomly take one piece of paper out of each jar. Write down the combinations and see which one sparks inspiration.
Whichever one of these ideas you use, remember to have fun with the potential story and characters.