Hiya! I’m a Pantser (a writer who plots by the seat of her pants). So what am I doing hanging out with Plotting Princesses? I’m here because they’re my friends and this is a fabulous group of women, but also because I love to brainstorm with other writers. It’s fun! I love brainstorming other authors’ plots.
So, let’s talk about brainstorming. Please excuse me if my psyche background comes burbling out, but this is a really exciting topic for me. Let’s look at the brain.
Everyone knows about right brain and left brain functions.
But there’s much more to it than simply accessing your right-brain. This simplistic view fails to explain true genius or creativity. Here’s how it really happens. Suppose a wild idea pops into your mind, it takes analytical brain functions to apply it to anything useful.
Now the really exciting stuff happens. By attempting to apply the idea you will stimulate more ideas. This is why it is so important in a brainstorming session to throw ideas out, attempt to see how they might apply, and then dash on to the new idea the act of application stimulates. Creativity combined with reasoned application begets more creativity. They breed like guppies. In a group brainstorming session this can be especially productive.
5 Hints for successful brainstorming…
1.) Remember our first few ideas are usually cerebral flotsam, trash ideas, been-there-seen-that concepts floating around the top of our brain. These are ideas the subconscious has gleaned from TV or popular culture. The really good stuff is deeper down.
2.) Stay confident. You can do this. Digging for the good stuff is fun!
3.) Try not to get married to an idea or it will block the really creative jazz that percolates beneath the surface.
4.) Fling out lots of what-ifs. The wilder the better. Go ahead let yourself wander into absurd land or outlandish-ville. Loosen up and start flinging. If you’re brainstorming in a group rebound off each other. She says what if a Viking stumbles through a wormhole into the future, and you bounce off that idea saying, “A wormhole into current day Hollywood.” Someone else suggests, “Yeah, but it’s a movie set for a Viking movie.” Someone else says, “What if it’s a Western.” That’s different. Another writer might suggest, “What if it’s an Amish film set?” You never know what might stick to the wall.
5.) As a brainstormer don’t try to pin another author down or try to cram an idea down her creative gullet. Her creative id will pick and choose.
Kat Baldwin doesn't know that she isn't all alone in the pantsing department. She hopes to release Lady Fiasco from her backlist soon!