"Wherever men have lived there is a story to be told." Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Brainstorming: Good for the Writing; Good for the Soul

Face it. Sometimes when it comes to plotting our books, our brains get stuck in a gigantic rut. We get set on an idea or a direction and no matter what we do we can’t get beyond it to open the door to something new and better. I don’t know a writer who hasn’t faced this. (If you haven’t, there’s something wrong with you!).

It’s been said a gazillion times that two heads are better than one. Get a bunch of heads together and it’s even better. This is the one time in writing when “talking heads” is acceptable. Sometimes all it takes is for a fellow writer, or engaged friend/reader, to ask some simple questions about your plot and, voila, the muddy road immediately dries out and you can pull right out of that rut and get back on the road.

I have three daughters who also write, so it is very fun and productive for us to brainstorm our ideas. I just came back from a week-long visit with one of my daughters and after several BS sessions (i.e., brainstorming sessions) we were able to help her with a book ending she hadn’t been completely satisfied with, and I was able to see more clearly a book I’d wanted to write for years but couldn’t because of that danged rut that kept bogging me down.

A good brainstorming partner should have the same qualifications as a good critique partner, but the main thing for both is someone who not only loves books but who understands writing, who understands you, and who will energize you so much that when you go home, you don’t want to do anything but head straight to your computer and start writing.