1. Albirich
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    Albirich Active Member

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    How do you brainstorm for a new book?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Albirich, Nov 20, 2013.

    Okay, so my main novel is one I will never let go, but it is so large! (each novel would be 500pages ++ and it would require a trilogy, or even more)

    So therefore I wanted to write something on a smaller scale, perhaps a fantasy story with 250-350 pages, just as a thing to work on to improve my writing and perhaps it will even give me ideas for my main novel. (even though I got it mostly figured out)

    How do you brainstorm? When I first made my novel I had a particular scene in my head for around two weeks till I finally wrote it down, then it expanded and expanded.
    I had no idea I would ever work on something as large as my main novel is. (think LotR, ASoIaF, WoW in size, filled with an entire world etc)

    I digress, so how do you brainstorm? I felt very much like winter, so that's one clue I got for my new fantasy novel.
     
  2. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Honestly, I think you shouldn't focus on the length or even think trilogy.
    It's normal to think ahead as you see yourself stopping at a certain point in book 1 but I'd keep just as that.
    Too much forethought can create self-pressure and stress to make it work when obviously it'll turn out different than the initial plan.
    Just my 2 cents on that.

    I generally don't brainstorm, I just find inspiration in the strangest thing like a conversation, an action, the way someone confucts themselves, and from it derive a story.
    I start out with what they want and then think how they get it, how they got to that point, etc.

    It's a pretty natural process for me.
    After, if I keep day dreaming about the idea, it eventually grows into a tangible story.
     
  3. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I think if you want a shorter story, you should not work too hard at creating a new 'world' for it. The large vista of fantasy worlds should be less important to the smaller story than the 'human' elements. You could write a story set in the world you've already created, but make it something less epic. A simple story, concerning only a handful of characters in a specific location, for example. The outer world will influence things, of course, but the focus of your smaller story shouldn't be changing these bigger things, but working with them instead.

    Instead of focusing on huge fantasy issues—overthrowing evil governments, rescuing planets, bringing a 1000-year war to an end—focus on something closer to 'home.'


    Maybe a family issue—not a royal family but an ordinary one.

    Maybe a close-knit family with an extraordinarily gifted member whose talents make other family members jealous ...maybe even murderously so.

    A young woman whose parents are intent on her marrying and carrying on family tradition by being a 'good wife and mother', but who wants to leave her home environment behind and become a scientist instead. This will mean her family disowns her.

    A young man whose criminal activity puts his entire family, whom he loves, in danger.

    An orphaned child who has to make her own way in the world—how does this child comes to terms with losing her parents—or being abandoned by them? Will she become bitter, selfish and unapproachable? Or will she attempt to fit into a society that really doesn't want to know, because she has no family and no credentials?

    Or a story that is not family-oriented. Could be a love story between two people who are thwarted by circumstance, perhaps permanently.

    Or maybe a poverty-stricken man who finds something that could make him rich, but who knows it doesn't actually belong to him and may actually have evil strings attached.


    I think you'll find these kinds of stories can be a lot of fun to write, and they help you to focus on personal issues. Too often, I believe, fantasy writers create a huge world and become so entranced by how all of it 'works' that the characters they create behave like chessmen on a chessboard, rather than like real people whom the reader can empathise with. Maybe this is your big chance to explore a more focused and personal story, without leaving 'fantasy' behind.

    Just be sure to build conflict and purpose into the plot. Once you're on your way, with characters you care about, the story will practically write itself.

    Good luck indeed!
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
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  4. Albirich
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    Albirich Active Member

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    I think I am the luckiest or the most imaginative person in the world /jk

    But like really...winter was the keyword I had and I already got my main character and the main plot figured, and the MC's personality. In less than an hour! Holy raccoon! I'VE EVEN WRITTEN 465 WORDS AND I JUST FIGURED IT ALL OUT. I'm amazed. No really, I truly am. Perfect winterish feeling story too, without any enormous cliches.

    It will be less violent and graphic as my last one though, but yea...I'm amazed on how my brain works. The negative side of this is that I ditched school now. (Not that I've been there for over a week...huurrr... :/
     
  5. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Stop it.
     
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  6. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I believe it's called 'inspiration!' Good luck, and glad you triggered it yourself. Winter. Yes, that's a plan...
     
  7. Albirich
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    Albirich Active Member

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    Nay. If you had any notion of how my life is then you'd get a better understanding. Another hint: writer at my age (and wanting it as a career) School doesn't help me in any way, but staying home, thinking, not thinking, and escaping in reading writing and games are much more helpful.

    Aye, winter is more of the setting, then a scene popped in my head and boom: everything figured out.
     
  8. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    True, even I stopped going to school for two months, but the chances of you living off your writing at 18 is the same chance as you becoming a superstar overnight.
    Even if you bust out a dozen 200 word articles a day, it'll barely pay the bills and you'll be working more than 8 hours a day.
    Get your diploma, get a minimum wage job that doesn't take too much effort, and keep writing.
    Unless you got control over a nice fortune, make sure you have something to float you until you can afford a ship.

    Honest, one of the first advices any writer gives an aspirant is: "Don't quit your day job."
     
  9. Wyr
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    Wyr Active Member

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    Glad to hear your brainstorming session paid off! :-D

    I have to agree with @A.M.P. about school though. You can never have enough schooling imho; even if you think you know everything you need to know now, there is always something new to learn. You'll regret it later if you don't finish. I had to leave college after my second year because of financial reasons and I still regret not finding a way to keep going.
     
  10. A.M.P.
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    @Wyr
    I'm just worried that he'll be out without a high school diploma and won't be able to get entry level jobs because of that.
    Writing certainly won't pay off in the near future, unless he's some sort of genius, and that will just bite him in the ass later.
    Better to suffer the little left of HS and get that piece of paper that so many jobs seem to care about when it comes to new blood in the job market.
     
  11. Albirich
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    Albirich Active Member

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    ^ true, trust me I've given it all a lot of thought, but when it comes to the morning and everything kicks in I just give up, lol.
    Well I just came back from the dentist, and I must say I feel raped and drugged. Well, while I got raped I did think more of this novel, I'll call it "The Tale of the Winter King" for now, and the other will just be called "Main novel" :)

    Now my idea is that The Tale of the Winter King is a thousand years past the Main Novel, HUUH? All in the same universe with connections and stuff that make you go "ahhh!" Like for example you could hear of events that happens in the Main Novel, in The Tale of the Winter King (of course it won't give the Main Novel big turns and such away)

    What do you think of this idea then? I might be talking rubbish, but don't judge. I got RAPED and DRUGGED, and I liked it.
     
  12. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    I began long distance running a year ago and find it's a great time to brainstorm. They encourage runners not to listen to music while running, so it's just me and my thoughts.
     
  13. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Woolgathering is my default mode. I think pushing/pressing to find an idea is not a good direction to go, but that's just me. Ideas come to me because I give full and free permission to my mind to go where it likes when I'm doing mundane things. I was driving to the Mayagüez mall yesterday and a small truck (like a regular pick-up truck) was carrying three little horses. Puerto Rican horses are very small, like ponies, only very fine boned. They were sideways in the truck compared to the direction of travel and as I was driving by them I wondered what they must be thinking. They must be like, "Sideways! I'm going sideways so fast!!" which then made me think about what my dog thinks my SUV is. She gets very excited when she sees the leash come out and she knows she's going for a trip, so the vehicle figures in her mind somehow. What is it to her? Does she know it's not alive? Does she distinguish between living and non-living things? It moves seemingly by itself and makes a lot of noise. Is it alive to her and she accepts that sometimes this living thing will engulf her into its body and then regurgitate her at some other location?

    That particular bit of woolgathering doesn't lead to a written story for me (might for someone else), but that kind of woolgathering often does. ;)
     
  14. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I don't run, anymore, but when I did, I found this to be true (also never, ever listened to music when I ran - needed all my senses fully functioning). Now, I take long walks, which I find are even better.
     
  15. criticalsexualmass
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    criticalsexualmass Active Member

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    I never have to brainstorm. I get more ideas for stories every day than i could ever write. I just take notes and the best ideas keep circling my head until i do something about them
     
  16. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    To me, brainstorming is not just coming up with story ideas. It's about developing those ideas, adding depth to the characters, thinking about settings, etc.
     
  17. Albirich
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    Albirich Active Member

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    What worked for me was just thinking of a setting, its snowing, then randomly an idea pops up. Then yea, brainstorm more to develop it.

    Guess it all comes to the size of the story, but yeah, once I get one idea it just goes on it own. When I write I've sometimes noticed that I do not know what will happen in the coming sentences, but as I write it keeps filling up the blank almost instantaneously
     
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if by 'brainstorm' you mean 'preset' the plot, or do up an 'outline' i don't, unless the time line and/or subplots are so complex that it's necessary...

    otherwise, i simply have the basic plot in mind from the start and begin writing, let the story flow on its own...
     
  19. Siena
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    Siena Active Member

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    I'll frame the idea around some model, Syd Field, Truby's 22 steps, the 2100 stage hero's journey - they all help me expand it from an idea to a set of sequences and characters that go somewhere.
     
  20. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I keep the tempest inside my own skull. As it thrashes to escape, it grows in strength and substance, and forces me to think.

    Great stories are not created by committee. They spring from the well-exercised imaginations of individual writers.
     
  21. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Other arts are indeed a great way to feed your own creativity, but nothing is as good as experiencing things for yourself in the real world. That's where the most original ideas come from, in my opinion.
     
  22. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    I generally just have ideas based on themes I want to explore. Then I traditionally run scenarios with either familiar characters or fresh characters.
    It shouldn't feel like a forced process and should basically do itself.

    Getting the ideas written down on paper or typed out is the more difficult part as you pick out what you think works and what you think doesn't

    Then there's the actual writing and editing.
     
  23. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    I see these mind mapping apps pop up in conversation. They look like they have some application in the brainstorming stage but then so does a notebook.
     
  24. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    when i wrote the few novels that i have written i did not brainstorm i just wrote down a few random notes as they came to me and when i felt in my heart i was ready to write the novel i did.
     
  25. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    I do not brainstorm, but there is a storm in my brain. My ideas can spawn from any stimuli if I allow it to, and like a storm, once it comes it will naturally create wind, thunder and lightning, and rain.
     

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