Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Five Fantastic Ways to Brainstorm Brilliantly

I was more than halfway through my book when I realized that I had no idea who my villain was, nor did I know how my book was going to end.
It was late October, and my cousin and I were sitting in my room around 1 AM, working on our books. At least, she was. I was pacing around my room, wondering who the heck my antagonist was. It was one of those pieces of information that I knew I would figure out eventually, so I kept telling myself "oh, don't worry about this yet. You'll figure it out."
Yeah, well, now I was getting close to the end of the story, and I had no clue who my bad guy was! Was it a group of old men with lots of power? Was it one person? Three? Fifteen? I had no idea, and I was starting to panic.
It was then that my cousin put her laptop aside and decided that we needed to have a major brainstorming session.
Brainstorming, I have discovered, is a magical time when ideas flow and anything is possible. It's a time for you to focus entirely on your story, and your characters, and your words. You can imagine scenes and sentences and crazy situations and all sorts of fun things! 
...Or you could try to think and end up staring at a wall feeling like your brain is about to explode.
Brainstorming. Sometimes the results are good, and sometimes they're not. Throughout my short life, I have collected a few of my favorite brainstorming techniques that tend to get the creative juices flowing and help me figure out the details I so wonderfully procrastinated.
1. Pace. It doesn't really matter where you are. Pace around your bedroom. Your hallway. Your kitchen. It doesn't matter! Pacing is a great way to keep your mind focused on something while simultaneously giving your body something to do. Most often when I'm brainstorming, I'm pacing around the room. It's surprisingly helpful and definitely worth a try.
2. Take a shower. No, seriously. There's actually a whole bunch of science-y stuff behind this. (Something about a bunch of dopamine being released when you shower, which helps you be more creative and blah blah blah...) Anyway, a shower is ideal for a great brainstorming session. I'm sure you've heard people say they get their best ideas in the shower. Well, maybe you can too!
3. Take a drive. For me personally, I get great ideas when I'm being driven rather than when I'm the one driving (I mean, I'm focusing on the road and stuff. It's kinda hard to brainstorm while driving.) But like I said, that's me. All I know is that when I'm on a long car ride and I have the back seat to myself, my notebook doesn't stay empty for long. Drives are especially nice because you can look at your passing surroundings and gain inspiration from that. In fact, listening to Radioactive by Imagine Dragons and looking out the window on the way to my Aunt's house one time led me to figuring out the perfect way to end my second book.
4. Lie in bed. This could be during the day or at night, but most people (myself included) seem to have the best ideas at night when they're staring at the ceiling. I always make sure I have something near my bed to write down ideas on, whether it be a notebook or my phone. It's amazing how many ideas I get at night when I'm too tired to write them down!
5. Brainstorm with a writing friend. I can't stress how important and beneficial having a writing buddy is. For me, this would be my cousin, Cassidy. When she and I put our minds together, we come up with things and ideas that I would never have been able to come up with on my own.

In fact, my book would not even be finished if it weren't for Cassidy. That night, when we paced around my room and tried to figure out who my antagonist was, she helped me realize figure it out and made me realize that my story is in fact a trilogy, rather than a single book. Since then, we've paced and stared at the ceiling multiple times together and have come up with awesome ideas as well as fixed a lot of plotholes and things of the like. So when you feel the need to have a good brainstorming session, try one of the things I mentioned above. Or try them all!

Do you have a certain technique you use to get the most out of a brainstorming session? Comment below or shoot me an email! I'd love to hear from you :)

"Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established." Proverbs 16:3

2 comments:

  1. I go swimming. It's amazing what pops into your head while you're plodding up and down the pool. For some reason, front crawl seems to produce the most ideas.

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