How To Brainstorm Ideas For Drafting And Edits.
by Alexander Grant
Hey everyone! Today, I’m talking about brainstorming ideas! This is a perfect time to discuss this as I’m sure many of you are in the middle of nano like I am and could also use some guidance for solving those pesky plot holes and gaps that always pop up at the wrong time.
For starters, I’m more of a pantser when writing. I put up a brief event outline where I lay out a dozen or so events I want to happen during my story and let the gaps fill themselves in. This keeps me refreshed and not feeling like I’m being boxed in. But, this can lead to frustration if a plot point isn’t working or I’ve created a situation that I can’t think my way out of! Even if you’re a voracious plotter, you’ve probably experienced a time when something just won’t click, so I’m going to give you guys some of my tips and strategies for solving these problems.
Take a break. If you read my last article on tips for motivation, taking a break was the very first tip and for good reason. I’ve found that in writing, and often times life, there’s not a problem that taking a break usually can’t solve. Our subconscious mind is a powerful thing and it’s always running in the background. Taking a couple hours or days off can really give you perspective and give your subconscious time to supply you with an answer! Often times, I’ll sleep on my problem and either as I’m falling asleep or when I’m waking up, a genius idea will slap me in the face. It’s a great feeling and is much better than worrying yourself to death when something doesn’t immediately click. So, when in doubt, take a small break. I promise something will happen!
Get a change of scenery. I don’t know about you, but sitting and staring at my laptop and begging for an answer to appear rarely works. What does work, however, is getting a change of scenery! When there’s a problem that I’m chewing on or I need some plot points to materialize, I’ll often go on a walk around my neighborhood if the weather permits. I walk a lot, so I have my usual couple routes pretty mapped out, so I can just turn up some music (bonus if it’s a playlist made for your WIP or project), let my mind wander, and enjoy some nature.
Most of the time, I do have to consciously steer my thoughts back to the problem I’m working on, but if I just focus on my book and characters for a little while, ideas will slowly start filtering through my brain! I can’t tell you the number of times going for a thirty minute walk has solved some of my biggest problems or questions! It’s a great way to get some exercise, a little serotonin, and solve your problems. If the weather is bad or you don’t feel like walking, another option that usually works is taking a shower! I don’t know why it works, but it does just the same!
Talk through it with a friend or critique partner. If you don’t have a writing friend, or at least a friend who reads a lot and understands the basics of plot and character, I would highly suggest making one! Social media is a fantastic way to connect with others going through the same thing, and I’m so grateful for the writing friends I’ve made from Instagram. I talk to a good amount of them daily and they’re always so willing to help me with whatever I’m thinking through! Bouncing ideas off of someone else is a great way to come up with ideas. Your friends have completely different perspectives and viewpoints on problems and your novel than you do, and perspective is a great thing for brainstorming and problem solving! Sometimes, just talking someone else through your own problem can point out an easy fix that you just glazed over. Basically, having a few writing friends to go to can be a gamechanger, so I definitely recommend it!
Alright, last one! Media consumption. This one is pretty simple and easy. All it involves is watching a good tv show or movie, reading a good book, listening to some music. Just do some form of entertainment with a story apart from your current project! I often find that seeing how others approach the concept of story and character development can spark fun new ideas for my own works, especially a killer plot twist, or fantastic character! Try it out and see if it helps, I bet it will!
Okay, those are all my tips for now! I hope they were helpful! Try some of them out and let me know how they go. And always feel free to reach out on Instagram for more tips or if you need a writing friend to talk to! I love talking about all things bookish.
Hope you guys have a great week and productive writing!