Last week, I talked a little bit about how much brainstorming I do early on in my writing process. A few of you have asked about that, so I thought I’d share my brainstorming process in detail.
I do multiple sessions of brainstorming. The first is when I get the initial idea for a story. I use a technique called Clustering. Basically, you start with one thing, then you branch off that thing with the first thing that pops into your mind. Here’s an example:
My brainstorming tables used to look like the one above, but not anymore. Now, it’s a huge mess of scribbles in a journal, so it’s doubtful that anyone except me would understand any of the connections. :) But the connections are there, and I eventually rewrite everything in the proper order.
I do this kind of brainstorming with various story elements, like plot, subplots, and character development. I will also do journaling from the perspective of my main character, which helps me to better understand him/her – thus, helping me make appropriate plot choices along the way.
This process allows me the creative freedom to explore without limits. When I’m done, I can turn it into an outline, which will keep me pointed in the right direction as I write my story. It’s never perfect, though, so when I get stuck, I’ll come back to this brainstorming process to get back on track. It’s gotten me out of many sticky situations. :)
Do you brainstorm? If so, how do you do it? If not, why?