The Sparkle of Brainstorming

Writers get stuck all the time.  For most of us, something usually happens to derail even the best-laid plans for our plots.  Once one domino starts to fall, we are staring in the face of utter collapse.  Or maybe the derailment is less severe.  Maybe it’s just an uneasy feeling that the plot falls flat.  It lacks spark.  Or maybe we write ourselves into a corner.  For whatever reason, somewhere along the way we stop.  We are stuck.  What to do??

We call on each other.

I recently gathered with a group of amazing writers where we “brainstormed” each other’s books.  I ended up sparkling so much from this exercise that I am still all a-glow!

There are many ways to brainstorm, and all of them work.  This version is my favorite so far.  In a nutshell, here’s how it went:

  1. One book was up for discussion.
  2. Six other writers assisted the author.
  3. The author presented the backstory, the premise, the characters, and their objectives.
  4. The six attending writers asked all the why questions that popped up along the way.
  5. The author answered to the best of her ability, but…
  6. This raised more questions…
  7. Which produced “what if” scenarios from the attending writers,
  8. And led to “if this…” “…then that…”
  9. And then magic happened:  *Sparkles!!*
  10. And suddenly the plot fell into place.

At least for me, such sparkles could never occur if left to my own device.  My imagination can only wander so far.  It takes a community of brainstormers to go the extra distance and find those sparkles together.


12 thoughts on “The Sparkle of Brainstorming”

  1. Sue, isn’t this great when this happens? My critique group did it for me last Sunday. One made a comment, another a question, and like you said…sparkles! I didn’t entirely change my plot but it’s going to give the story another layer of depth that I wouldn’t have come up with on my own.


  2. Wow, that sounds like such a great group, Sue!! What a magical experience. I’m lucky enough to have a writing friend to brainstorming with, too, and get such fabulous ideas from her, things I never would’ve thought of on my own! 🙂


  3. As you all know, I am a reader, not a writer. I am fascinated by all of your descriptions and comments on the writing process. It makes me appreciate my favorite books and author even more. I an constantly amazed at the supportive community that writers have. You help and support each other, and we readers benefit. Thanks


  4. Hmm, you’re right, Sam. We thought we were working, but it really was a party! And yes, we are absolutely lucky to have supportive writers in our lives for these magical moments. We can make it happen. It’s all for readers!


  5. Love, love, love this. Our writers groups will sometimes do this. Instead of one person reading their work, they’ll explain their challenge, and then we all begin talking. Somehow, it almost always clears the pipes of creativity–and the rest of us usually walk away with new ideas, too. So much fun!

    Thatsojacob–LOL! Pooped, huh? Will have to visit the blog.


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