2 Blondes, 1 Redhead & a Reviewer

It was a dark and brainstormy night . . .

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.  This is a concept near and dear to my heart.  I love, love, love brainstorming.  I actually like doing it for other people more than for myself.  I love the ‘what-ifs’ of writing.  And I like coming in out of the blue and tossing out ideas to my buds.

I’ve been brainstorming for years.  I am blessed with a great group of friends who are always willing to help me work my way out of whatever hole I’ve dug for myself.  For us it basically works like this:

{Friend’s phone rings} Hello?

{Me} I’m screwed.

What’s wrong?

I don’t have enough conflict to sustain the book.  It’s now a short story.

Tell me about where you are in the story.

{Long recap}

Sounds like you’re rushing it.  Have you thought of X?

Um, no, but I don’t really like that.

How about Y?

Y could work.  Thank you! {I get giddy}

Okay, so maybe it’s a longer conversation.  We touch on characterization, plotting, pacing, conflict – you name it, we bounce ideas off one another.  The key to making this work is having a brainstorming buddy who is familiar with what and how your write.  My brainstorming buddies know better than to brainstorm an angst-ridden subplot because they know this isn’t part of my skill set.  The other thing you really need is trust.  Make sure your brainstorming buddy will tell you the truth.  If you want to be told how special you are, call your mommy.  If you want an honest critique of where you’ve zigged instead of zagged – brainstorm.

The other advantage of brainstorming is plotting and pacing.  By running your plot past your buddy, you can often hear and see the places in your plot that are weak and/or unnecessary.  The same is true of pacing.  Recapping your story gives you a better handle of how the book is moving.

Brainstorming should help you, not defeat you.  Find the right person or people and your manuscript will shine.

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