At my May writer’s meeting, we were lucky to have Leanne Banks. She is such a dynamic speaker and, though I’ve heard her present several times, she somehow always manages to focus on an area where I’m having trouble. (I just LOVE her!)
Perhaps it’s because I’ve been writing non-fiction for awhile now but my “What-if” muscle was in need of some serious help. Thankfully Leanne provided scads of tips on brainstorming and getting “unstuck!”
Below are my favorites from her talk, along with some great posts on the subject. Happy Techie Tuesday!!
Write an autobiography of your characters and ask them provocative questions like:
- What are you most proud of?
- What was your most embarrassing moment?
- What is your biggest fear?
- What did your parents teach you about sex?
- What did they teach you about love?
- What is your biggest shame?
- What is your secret wish?
Change creative mediums
- Make a collage for your book. Jennifer Crusie does this. Different textures and different mediums can stimulate your brain to be creative. Debbie Macomber and Christie Ridgway knit (so do I!); Linda Lael Miller paints.
- Brainstorm with a writer friend, a non-writer friend, a newbie and someone who writes in a different genre.
- Choose a soundtrack for your book. Try doing this on Pandora.
- Julia Cameron composes music.
- In yesterday’s blog, I talked about some tips Anne Lamott offers to keep you going in your writing. My faves were also Leanne’s: Give yourself permission to write crap and take a tiny picture frame and write only about what you can see inside it.
- If you’re stuck, be random. (this was one of my favorites!)
- Brainstorm what everyone else would do, then do the opposite.
- Reconsider what you did that got you into this corner and determine if a small change can get you out of it.
Creative “What-if” Techniques
- Role-storming – How would you handle these problems if you were someone else?
- Iconic figures – how would you approach this if you were an iconic figure from the past?
- Brainwriting – gather together several people and give one person a piece of paper. Each person writes for 10 minutes, then passes the paper. Keep going until everyone has written on that page. Read the entire story out loud.
- Last but not least is the old reliable List of 20 – You must write down twenty possibilities, as fast as you can think of them, no editing allowed. The only engraved rule is that you must write all twenty! It’s the “old reliable” because it works.
Some great brainstorming articles – there are some similarities but Holy Cow, look at the differences!
- 10 Brainstorming Techniques That Help Stimulate Your Individual Creativity
- 12 Surefire Brainstorming Techniques
- Brainstorming and Blogging series from Kristen Lamb
- Writing Exercises: Poetry – even if you don’t write poetry, these will push you to create something
So after all this Techie Tuesday greatness, are you ready to stagger over to your work in progress and spew forth all your new brainstorming magnificence? What techniques help you when your “what-if” muscle needs a workout?
I love, love, love hearing from you! (And yes, I’ve had a VAT of coffee, but I still think y’all just ROCK.) I’ve already shown my love with the Let’s Meet Up Contest – your comments put you in the hat to win a spot in the June webinar, which will be drawn two weeks from today! There’s thirty seats open between the June and July webinar and I want one to go to every person that wants one.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Before we run into the June winners, my meandering May winners must set a date! What about Friday, June 10th…12:30 PM ET? Are you with me, May winners?? Lets. Meet. Up!!