Brainstorming is something essential whether you have many ideas or just a few of them. Whether you do not have any thoughts in mind or are not in a position to organize your thoughts well, it can really help. Prior to brainstorming, you should remember the main principle of brainstorming: Do not evaluate, enumerate. Put your ideas down and do not organize them or judge them until you have completed the creative phase.
Are you not sure of what to write? No problem. Just write what comes into your mind.
Set a quantitative goal. For instance, 500 words, 5 minutes or 3 pages. It does not matter.
Do not stop your brainstorming writing process to correct spelling mistakes and write flawlessly. Do not dare going back to rewrite. Switch off your inner editor. Do not work to be too coherent. Just write.
What message do you want to deliver? If you desire to develop a story, what elements and ideas do you want to convey? Write down a small list of single words or phrases; you can check back and reread this list later. For a nonfiction story, the list can have arguments, opinions, questions, facts, components or a combination of any of these. For fiction, make a list of things, places, people, goals, obstacles, values and qualities.
Do not make an outline at this point. Outlining limits the creative art of brainstorming by requiring you to organize and evaluate your thoughts. You should always remember that brainstorming is an activity that should be uninhibited.
Mapping, which is also known as webbing and clustering is a graphical form of listing that basically involves writing down ideas on a big writing surface, then connecting them through the association of ideas with similar theme ideas with distinct pattern underlines or color-coded circles and then indicating any other relations by using line links.
The manner of producing the map is your responsibility and similar to any other brainstorming tool. Do not make connections between the words or phrases until you run out of ideas. However, do not hesitate to continue recording new ideas as you gather others.
If you plan on writing a novel, learn more about the country or city in which it takes place, even if it’s one of your own. If it is a historical novel, familiarize yourself with the cultural atmosphere and social structure of the place and time and note how people talked, ate, dressed, worked and took part in other everyday activities.
The Final Step in the Brainstorming Process
If you think that an outline can be of use, make one after the brainstorming activity is complete. If you do not, delve into whichever part of the topic that attracts your attention based on the output of what you recorded during your brainstorming session. You do not have to commence at the beginning and barely have to complete one section of the project or assignment before moving on to the next one. Just focus on building on your background work a single piece at a time.
Do you have other ways that you have brainstormed a story idea in the past? Please share it in the comments section.