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Brainstorming for Writers



Hello, everyone. I'm back with another blog.


Do you have an idea for a great story? It may only be a spark now, but capturing and turning your creative energy into something is essential. In order to do this, you must master the art of brainstorming.


Writers across the world use brainstorming to explore new themes and create unique settings and characters. Think of it as igniting your imagination. Igniting your imagination can seem daunting, but if you approach it the right way, it can be easier.


If you have any questions about this post, please feel free to shoot A.E. an email. I’d be happy to chat.


“The Mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” —Ancient Philosopher Plutarch



Regardless of what you're brainstorming, it's important to follow a few essential rules. Let's dive into these guidelines and how they can your capabilities:


Rule 1: Treat Every Idea Equally


Don’t dismiss ideas when they come to you. Take each one seriously. Expand on them. This can be either with pros and cons lists or even running the hypothetical idea through your head to see how it’ll play out. If keeping things in your head isn’t something that works for you, write them down.



Rule 2: Leave Nothing Behind


This rule is kind of like a double-edged sword. You can come up with so many good ideas but only have limited time to record them. There is a simple solution: prepare yourself for documenting all your thoughts and leave nothing behind.


To compile your ideas, you can:


·       Use the notes app on your phone

·       Keep small notebooks nearby (in your car or a nightstand table)

·       Have a white or chalkboard in your home

Doing so can give you plenty of backup plans in case one idea doesn't work out.


Rule 3: Innovation


Having an innovative mindset can help eliminate writer's block by making small changes. Examples of brainstorming innovation include changing schedules, using a specific template, or conducting more exercises.

“I do a lot of brainstorming with my editors." —Sara Shepherd.

Consider the Key Elements


It might seem tempting to skip the writing of brainstorming. However, you will get better results if you decide on a few key elements first. This five-step process is essential to having a solid brainstorming session.


I recommend writing in the genre you're most familiar with. Switching up the genres to gain new ideas is also a good idea. Choosing the right genre can narrow down your options when brainstorming. This idea works well for writers everywhere.


You might write a story about a woman who collects snails that really centers around love. What is the special message you want to say about the nature of love? The truth you want to convey could be something detailed such as how people should behave. In reality, it's essential to make it believable to give the reader something to ponder.


Complexity and inner turmoil often hook the reader's attention. In turn, these characteristics make a character compelling. Writers can do a deep dive into their characters by asking themselves these three questions:


1.      What does your protagonist want?

2.      What are your characters afraid of?

3.      What is their misbelief?


The last point will allow you to take your protagonist (or even antagonist) on a self-discovery journey.


The best part of brainstorming for most writers is deciding on the right mood for your story. In order to choose the best one quickly, pick some words that characterize the story’s vibe. Choosing the mood typically ties in with step one. However, it also could be a chance to experiment with things.


Powerful Ways to Brainstorm


Some of our best story ideas come at unexpected times. While these moments provide a thrill, they also aren’t easy to duplicate out of desperation. Lacking inspiration can lead to mounting frustration. On the other side, writers everywhere have inspiration within them. Let’s break down three ways you can brainstorm story ideas:


1.      Steal Like an Artist


When nothing you think of is genuinely original, another story can become an inspiration or influence. Consider what you do and do not love about the stories you consume. Doing so can help you cultivate creative forces to inspire your work.


2.      Play the Question Game


The heart of storytelling consists of one question: "What if?" Brainstorming this question can powerfully generate ideas for your story. Once you have an extensive list, choose the most exciting concept.


3.      Ride the Wave of Emotion


Emotion makes any story even better. The stories writers are most passionate about are often ones with powerful emotions. By keeping feelings in mind when you brainstorm, you can generate new ideas quickly. If you lack emotion in your story, consider combining emotions from other brainstorming methods.

“Creativity is not the domain of a single person. Through free association of thoughts and brainstorming, an accidental suggestion can be the best solution.” —Joshua Fernandez



Prior to starting the project, and even while you work on it, brainstorm as much as you can. The concept of brainstorming motivates you to start and continue putting your story together. It also provides resources to include those magical elements infused in the best stories.



How to brainstorm ideas in six easy steps – Brett Warren breaks down six easy brainstorming tips that can help turn your vision into something tangible.

Writers in the Storm – Becca Puglisi explains some creative brainstorming techniques to help ignite your imagination.

Innovation Management – Paul Van Zandt breaks down the four golden rules of brainstorming.


How to Brainstorm a Compelling Story Idea Quickly – Jessica A. offers a four-minute guide to start writing.


Well Storied – Kristen Kieffer discusses three powerful ways to brainstorm new ideas. 


The Guardian – Karen Wiesner explains how to keep your brain in gear while brainstorming. 


Kevin Petrochko is a guest writer for A.E. Williams Editorial who has worked with clients in multiple industries writing content for websites and blogs. As a former journalist, Kevin has contributed sports writing to multiple publications. You can connect with him on TwitterLinkedIn, and through email.

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