Okay, so I got a new writing book from a friend – just something to motivate me. See, I’ve been in a little slump of late – a few too many RL things interfering with my typical writing schedule.

Anyway, this book (which I’ll talk more about in a different post) compared brainstorming new ideas to a coffee pot – you know, the kind that brew in a percolator. I loved this analogy, as my ideas always have to stew for quite a while before they are ready to be written at all. (75% brewing, 25% writing – that is how the book described it)

The book went on to talk about verbal brainstorming as a way to crystallize your ideas. This is also something I do…or at least something I did with my last novel.

This got me thinking…when was the last time I brainstormed with a friend? The more I thought, the more I realized it has been a long time…months even. Yeah – FAR TOO LONG!

No wonder my ideas seem choked off inside…I haven’t been doing my usual brainstorming with my writerly buds!

Thankfully one of my crit buds emailed me as I was thinking of this and we have a brainstorming session coming up.


So let me ask you, how do you brainstorm? What about when things seem…choked, stalled, less than???


18 thoughts on “Verbal Brainstorming

  1. When I brainstorm by myself, I tend to sit and stare into space LOL Actually, my most productive brainstorming usually happens in the shower or while doing dishes – I just have to make sure to keep pen and paper near by 🙂

    And when I get choked or things stall…I email a good friend and set up a brainstorming session 😉 Really, there is something about explaining it all to someone else that really helps loosen things up. Don’t know what I’d do without my writer buds 🙂

  2. I chat it out with my husband, mull a bit, stew a bit more, write a little and hope something comes from it all. I’ve done it with my critique group too. They are the best that way.

  3. I have a best friend that I brainstorm with a lot. She basically wrote the ending to my book during an evening of wine and My Little Ponies (don’t ask, it was fun).

    I’ve also found my writing group to be helpful with bouncing ideas off of. And my co-workers are good to ask about how to kill someone in a novel. Scientists come up with the best, most-involved death scenes 😉

    I tend to start writing before letting an idea stew too much though. I find that most of my problems un-stick themselves as I get into the character’s head and just go (I’m a pantser!)

  4. I brainstorm with writer friends. sometimes it helps, and sometimes it doesn’t. You have to know how to take what’s helpful and push the rest aside.
    honesty, I do my best brainstorming alone though!

  5. I brainstorm with my husband. We usually go off on tangents through (I know it’s brainstorming, but sometimes it’s a bit out there for me!). Still, he always jogs my mind into something. When I do it by myself, I just put the pen to paper and jot down ideas without thinking too much.

  6. Hmm…I’ve never tried verbally brainstorming. It sounds a little daunting, putting your naked ideas out there to be inspected and fluffed. BUT it also sounds like a great way to jumpstart the creative process!

    Brainstorming by myself, I’m all about staring off into space. The other thing that works is cleaning or walking. Something to get the story out of the forefront of my mind so it can sneak up on my subconscious.

  7. I do a lot of brainstorming – something I see or hear will set my ideas churning. However, when in a slump, I pick an object, say a ball & ask questions about it. What other uses can I do with this besides bounce it? What if I’d never seen a ball, what would I think it was? Do I wear it? Do I use it to plug a hole? Do I eat it?
    Is it a part to something else? Look at things out of the box or beyond the realm of what we already know. That includes people. What if the old lady with the kind face sitting next to me in church has a missing husband, and he’s buried in her basement? What if the precocious child next door is an alien coming to take over the world? The possibilies are only limited by the boundaries you place on them.

  8. I have a hard time brainstorming. I end up fifteen years ago when I was ten and the teacher has just instructed us to ‘brainstorm’ and I freeze up. Ugh. I will get it one day.

  9. My brainstorming is dynamic… it changes often. Usually, I get a random idea that just “pops” into my head. I run the idea by my wife, and we start to “what if” until we have something good. Sometimes I will get to something good, run it all by by my wife, and she makes on comment that changes the whole thing.

    Other times, I run things by my writer buddies and the what if’s get spun round and round.

    I love conceptualizing! It is probably my favorite part of writing!

  10. I, er, talk to myself. I guess that’s the not the same thing as verbal brainstorming.

    Fortunately, I have a great writer friend who I like to bounce ideas off. . . and she does the same to me.

  11. I normally brainstorm on paper – questions, questions, questions. Why would she do this or that? How might they react to this. How could I twist the natural reaction around so it was a little different, but still plausible?

    And like everyone else, I roll ideas over in my head while doing other mundane stuff…and talk to myself if no one else is around. 😉

    I don’t plot with my hubby much – he goes off the cheesy end trying to “help” with my romance plots. And I don’t have any “real life” writer friends, so though I occasionally brainstorm via email, I do most of it on my own.

  12. Thanks for the great responses guys! I am definitely into brainstorming in my head, with anyone who will listen (online or in real life) and on paper!!!

  13. An idea for my next book, is sitting in a notebook waiting for it’s turn right now. That one came about by brainstorming. A long car ride and beautiful scenery, a conversation started with what if and…viola the beginning of an idea and a general outline.

    It definitely works. (Hugs)Indigo

  14. I always feel a little self-conscious brainstorming verbally, but every time I do it, I find myself itching to write and ready to move past what had me stuck. I need to do it again because I’m covered in glue at the moment… Why do I let this go on for weeks? Silly me…

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