1. Sullivan
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    Sullivan New Member

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    Brainstorming

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Sullivan, Nov 1, 2009.

    How do people usually brainstorm a plot or storyline?
    I dislike writing Sci Fi or Fantasy, leaving me with Realistic, with just a little bit of wriggle-room for a dash of the Supernatural in there, but, as of yet, I've absolutely no ideas.
     
  2. Runaway
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    Runaway Member

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    I don't usually sit down with the purpose of brainstorming. If I'm trying to get an idea for a plot, I usually go for a car ride and listen to music while looking out the window (you see some interesting stuff), read a good book, or go for a walk. Another one is reading fanfiction. Some of those writers have great idea's and are really good writer's, so you might find some inspiring stuff there.

    Why constrain yourself by deciding what genres you do/don't write? I mean, Stephen King writes realistic too, but he still puts plenty of supernatural/horror/fantasy/science fiction into his writing.
     
  3. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    I read. I surf the web. I watch TV and movies. I talk to friends and family. All of these things lead to ideas. I also like to think of trigger words or story ideas phrases.

    For me writing is deciding what types of characters I'm going to stick into what types of situations. It's a chain of events in which these characters should change, either growing or reverting. An example of a reverting would be a normal sane character spiraling into madness. Where as say an immature character, faced with hard events must grow, mature, and change...maybe going from a quiet follower to a leader...or something of that nature.

    It might be a type of person that triggers an idea. It might be a type of situation that might do it for me. Pretty much I look for the story everywhere around me and within my own imagination.
     
  4. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    It depends. At the moment I'm writing a play, where I began with a very basic scenario and a theme and style that I wanted to explore, and I'm just letting the ideas come as they do. Generally though, I try to have some idea of a plot outline before I start writing and then work things out in more detail as I write. If you can't think of any starting place at all, just begin with a basic character and give him a basic desire, something he wants. Base your plot on him obtaining the thing he desires and just build on it until you have a strong story and a deep character...
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    People usually don't start with, "I want to write a story. Now wat will it be about?"

    They usualluy begin with a story idea, then decide to write about it. However, those who are short on writing ideas do look for story prompts. For example, they might look through the Theme Suggestions thread for our Short Story Competitions.

    Either way, it is still up to you, as a writer, to come up with your own story.
     
  6. InkDream
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    InkDream Senior Member

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    I get an idea and I scribble it down and any other thoughts or questions. Usually this is done on a napkin, piece of scrap paper, or cardboard. I don't have a formal brainstorming process, I've found that it doesn't really help me unless I'm trying to keep something straight or decide which direction to take.

    Do what works for you.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if, by 'brainstorm' you mean sitting down and 'free thinking' and writing down all that comes to you, in order to get ideas for something or other, i doubt that many writers would do it... seasoned writers simply 'get' an idea from wherever, and then figure out how to expand it into a story, or novel...

    however, true 'brainstorming' is done in a conference setting, with all present tossing out ideas to solve a particular problem, so i don't really know what you mean by the term...
     
  8. Fox Favinger
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    Fox Favinger Contributing Member

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    I usually create the setting and the universe the story takes place in. Usually a very realistic distant or near future so I have some technological flexibility. I only include possible science, not plausible science. I use technology that is in development or has been researched in the past. My worlds seems less hi-tech than other sci-fi stories but less debatable.

    I usually get carried away with research and the creation process, but it's fun and by the time that 100 page document is done I have a really nice reference file when I go to start.

    For short stories though I've learned to just stick with a very, very basic outline and then just start writing or it won't get done. Sometime's I'll just skip the outline and let the ideas pour out as I write. It can make for more fluid writing as I've learned.
     
  9. Joran Selemis
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    Joran Selemis Member

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    I usually look at something, anything and find it inspirational. An altered image of Venom from Spider-Man has been the basis for not one, not two but THREE short stories, the ideas for which I've written down and will expand on when I get the time.

    Basically, the way my mind works is whenever I'm bored I imagine the hero figure from the novel I've been working on pretty much my whole life flying through something and being chased by someone/something else, then make a story about it. Or I'll look at a pattern and get an idea from it.

    I do that a lot too Fox, but more for metaphors and symbolism. For example, in one story where I wrote about mutants caused by an atomic bomb, the main character was called Skarn, although his real name was Samuel Karnan. Skarn is a type of metamorphic rock; metamorphic rocks are formed by extreme heat and pressure, which is exactly how Skarn was made ie. the heat and pressure of the atomic bomb. But I also contrasted him with a young boy, also a mutant, called Oros; Oros is a Spanish word for diamond, and I called him Oros because like Skarn diamonds are formed by extreme heat and pressure, however, unlike Skarn who simply became a rock Oros became something beautiful.

    That was extensive but you get my point.
     
  10. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Here is a good way to generate ideas. I will do a live session right now as I type.

    1. Think of an everyday situation.
    2. Think of the worst thing that could happen.
    3. Give the character a goal and a motivation to reach that goal.
    4. Make clear the consequences if she fails to reach that goal.
    5. Keep thinking of the next worst thing that could happen.


    I will start. Sara is driving to work. Her motivation is she can't be late again or she will get fired. So her goal is to get to work on time.

    I need to think of things that can go wrong. She gets stuck at a traffic light. While waiting for the light to turn green, a dead body slams on her hood and windshield, shattering it. Panicked she gets out of the car to check the person's pulse. She's going to be late for sure now. New goal is to call the police.

    I need to think of another bad thing that can happen. She looks up to see where the person fell from and spots a broken window on the side of an old building. A man stares down at her. He's holding a gun. He points and yelled, "Get her."

    New goal. Get the hell out of there. Motivation is survival.

    This could have gone so many ways. If I keep thinking of bad things that can happen to deter her from reaching her goal, I eventually start to develop a story. The plot starts coming to me. I need to figure out why the man killed the person. Who the person was. Maybe the person turns out to be the Mayor. The police want to question Sarah now because she ran from the crime scene, and it was her car the Mayor plopped on.

    You get the idea. It's a fun exercise.
     

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