Brainstorming 100 Ideas Resurrected My Story

by Lori on 04.07.2011

in writing

I read a post a few days ago.  It’s not the one linked below, because I had Kindle Klipped it to myself and read it there.  In fact, I can’t track it down at all, because a Google of “brainstorming 100” comes up with lots of posts from different sites.  It didn’t even hit me that much when I read it, except to say, “Hmm.  That idea doesn’t suck.”

But then I started reading a novel and, while trying to go to sleep, began looking for the GMC in that book.  I was impressed to realize that while the hero’s GMC is obvious from the beginning, the heroine’s changes (although they’re all connected to what her real goal and motivation was all along).  Sometimes, we don’t know what we want.  Sometimes we do things and we don’t know why we do them, except they have to do with this immediate thing we want that isn’t such a huge thing.  But, in the doing, it evolves and we learn more about ourselves and, if that need is met, we start looking for more of what made us feel good about meeting that need.

Does that make any sense?  I think I slipped into therapy-speak for a minute.

Anyway, so I’m examining the GMC for a book that is certainly well-written but is not at all my story or similar to my story.  And then, I think I figured out where the term brainstorm came from.  Because, like lightning flashes, I got hit by realizations of why the 76 page outline (let’s just stop kidding ourselves and admit it’s a first draft at that point since I’m still in the first act) petered out.

I NEED goals.  I know this.  This is not news to me.  Understanding the need for goals, motivation, and conflict completely changed writing for me.  It made it actually do-able.  And yet… there it was.  No. Freaking. Goals.

So, I made a choice.  It’s 76 rough pages.  If I don’t keep a word of it, who cares?  It can’t hurt that I’ve put my characters in situations just to see what happened.  It can’t be bad that I got a really good idea of how they interact and converse and feel.  Even if exploring completely outside of what I’ve written means I have to start over, it’s not really starting over.

I tried the idea.  In one sitting, brainstorm 100 things.  And the thing to remember about brainstorming is, you write EVERYTHING down.  Even if it’s “stupid” or it doesn’t make sense.

Sometimes, we can write ourselves into a corner and there’s no coming back until you are ready to chuck the corner, the wall, the whole damn structure to see how you get there and where you need to go.

Just for kicks, here are some directions on Brainstorming 100.  Let me know how it works out for you!

Oh, you’re wondering if it actually worked?  It opened the story up.  I’m still working on it, but I’m no longer banging my head on the keyboard.  That means it worked, right?

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