Welcome to the blog of author Tricia Goyer!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Brainstorming with friends.

Hi friends. I don't know if you caught my tweet yesterday about my filing to-do list, but while "getting things done" I came across this fun excersize for writers that I did at a retreat a few years ago.

Have a writing party...or just gather a few friends.

For you writers out there . . . have you ever thought of brainstorming with friends? You don't need a big number. How about 11 or the same could be done with half that number. (Yes, 5 1/2 authors would work fine.) Here's what we did. Try it!

The writer who is "up" gets 1 hour and 15 minutes. (We limit it to three a day, because our brains get fried.)

Then she uses about fifteen minutes to talk about the idea--sharing as much as she knows about plot, characters, setting, etc.

Then the writer explains her needs. Some people need help with minor plot points and others need ideas for the whole book. (Yes, I can claim in part the success of dozens of CBA authors :-)

This is when things get crazy, and we play the "what if" game. One person has an idea. If it's a great idea we build on it. Not-so-great ideas are put aside. Ideas fly around the table and plot, conflict, motivation, characterization forms before our very eyes. Excitement builds as we all jump in with our brilliance. People come up with things I never would have thought out, and then others build on that. And who knew, I even came up with a few good ideas too.

During the last twenty minutes, we stop all the ideas and ask everyone to write a "List of 10". This means on a sheet of paper we write down ten things the author can do with the book. It can be a list of scenes, or conflicts, or more ideas.

Finally, we go around and read our lists. Someone's one or two more ideas are thrown in, but for the most part our work is done.

What do you think? Is this something that could work for you?


Hope Wilbanks said...

This sounds like so much fun! Now if I could just find a handful of willing writing friends to participate, that would be awesome! :)

Kara S. said...

Wow! What an awesome way to get ideas! I would love to participate in something like this, but like Hope, I need to find a handful of willing writing friends. :)

Dara said...

It would work if I had a group of writer friends. :) I have a critique group, and they're helpful, but they all write fantasy and have a hard time doing anything else :P