Brainstorming Techniques?

BRAINSTORMING_METHODS-283x300I need some help you guys!  I am getting ready for Nanowrimo and I have the idea for a character but I’m not sure what I want to happen to her.  I want to write a book about a woman who never falls in love and how she deals with that.  I don’t want her to fall in love because I feel like that would be a cop out.  I want it to be a unique story.

But what would be a good story?  I’ve thought she could lose her job.  She could have a group of ‘lonely hearts club’ or other group of friends.  I saw a thing on food network about these widows that meant ever week and made perogies.  I thought I could tell that story but I don’t think I would do an old lady very well so it would be 30’s or 40’s.

Anyway, I’m just curious for your suggestions and what you do when you need to brainstorm for ideas? Fellow writers help!

This Nanowrimo is going to be different because I don’t have a concrete plan like I’ve had the last 2 years.  We will see how it goes.  I have a back up idea if this doesn’t work.

So help!  Need ideas.  What could happen to her that wouldn’t be a cliche but would be interesting to read about?

Also is anyone interested in guest blogging for me as I work on my book on either of my blogs?


17 thoughts on “Brainstorming Techniques?

  1. I say go with your gut feeling. Writing is all about what you feel strongly about and what you believe in. 🙂

    1. Do you have any brainstorming strategies you use? I keep going back and forth but you are right there is a gut feeling I will at least start with.

      1. Hmm, before I got my books published, I would put everything down on paper that comes to mind. I even used to carry a little note book, to jot down inspirations. It looked like a mess, but when it’s all out, then you begin to bring all the relevant pieces together and make it harmonious and continue adding until the job is done. Then later, you edit and proof read umpteen times. It’s a process 🙂

        1. Yes, indeed. But when I’m not sure, I leave it all for a little, divert my attention to something else and give my mind a break; then it all falls into place what to do next with my characters. Sometimes what you initially thought you would do, later takes on a different and better hue.

  2. I’ll speak plainly, here.

    You said,
    “I want to write a book about a woman who never falls in love and how she deals with that.”
    “I don’t want her to fall in love because I feel like that would be a cop out.”
    “What could happen to her that wouldn’t be a cliche but would be interesting to read about?”

    These are different things.

    If you’re having trouble hearing her story, it’s because you’re not letting it be hers. You’re still trying to have a plan. You’re also putting her in a passive position, by saying her story happens to her.

    For her story to be interesting, she needs to act for herself and not to be acted upon. How does she use – or abuse – her free agency?

    Remember, there are really only three “plots” in fiction:
    Boy Meets Girl
    The Little Tailor
    Gains the World but Loses Own Soul

    Just let this NaNoWriMo be your brainstorm.

    Let your character live her life, and you just take notes. Don’t try to start at the beginning. Just write whatever you see happening. Don’t write it in the first person, either. Make it third person. That will put enough distance between the two of you, to let you blend into the background and give her enough space to be herself.

    In other words, give her room to dance.

    1. I knew you would have good advice! That’s very good! Definitely given me a lot to think about and made me excited for the project

    2. So do you implement brainstorming strategies in your writing or just let it come to you? That’s a good suggestion to make it 3rd person. Thanks!

      1. I’m a pantser,so it just comes. The very first part I wrote in Irish Firebrands was the dialogue that turned out to be in the last part of Chapter 23 and the beginning of Chapter 24. The next part I can remember writing was the second half of Chapter 1 (Dillon’s return to Ireland). The last section of Chapter 30 (Dillon and Dermot), was another early bit. I wrote the end of the book long before I was sure what was in the first part of Chapter 1. The holes just filled themselves in, like slime mold. Not that they were all easy to write about: the things I found out about Lana, Dillon, Frank and Medb were like having to turn over rocks and boards and seeing what ran out.

        1. I’d always heard there were 7 stories.
          1 Overcoming the Monster
          2 Rags to Riches
          3 The Quest
          4 Voyage and Return
          5 Comedy
          6 Tragedy
          7 Rebirth

  3. Most of these are just topics that fall under the three stories.

    The Little Tailor encompasses numbers 1-4, and 7. Number 7 also falls under Boy Meets Girl. Gains the World but Loses Own Soul is number 6. Comedy is just an approach to storytelling, it’s not a story in itself: any tale but a tragedy can be told in a humorous way, and even tragedies will often inject some comic relief (usually involving one or more minor characters), to pace the story and provide temporary respite from the downward spiral. Some tragedies will also try to soften the blow by incorporating a small degree of transformation (rebirth, redemption) at the very end, if the character repents after realizing the error of his ways, but it’s usually a deathbed thing, or entails some other form of devastating personal loss that can never be recovered, even if the tragic character survives.

    For example, this last aspect of some tragedies is the real reason why many people hate “Gone With the Wind.” They detest Scarlett and want her to get her comeuppance, but they also love Rhett and feel sorry for him. They’d like to think that Scarlett will suffer enough for her sins to get Rhett back, and then make him happy for the rest of his life. But it ain’t a-gonna happen, folks, “Tomorrow is another day,” notwithstanding.

      1. A case can also be made for there being only one “story”: Transformation. This is because the protagonist of every novel must undergo some degree of change to personality and/or motivation, as I discuss in my post, “Spare Change” ( ).

        In this respect, Boy Meets Girl is the most purely transformative tale. That’s why minor romantic subplots show up in novels of all genres. It’s also what’s going to make it almost impossible for your character to completely avoid the “fall in love” thing in a positive, plausible way.

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