NaNoPrep #1.5: Brainstorming


My mind map that I keep on the wall with Post-It notes.

Yesterday we covered brain dumping, which is the act of taking the ideas from your brains and placing them down onto paper for later reference; but, what if you don’t have any ideas, to begin with? Perhaps you didn’t generate enough ideas during your brain dumping stage leaving you little to work within your outline. That is when you move on to brainstorming.

Brainstorming is the act of populating ideas for your novel and can be accomplished in several ways. I enjoy using mind maps to visualize the branching ideas, and it helps me to visualize everything as a bigger picture.

Like with brain dumping, brainstorming can be written on paper, or using sites like if you prefer working on the computer. Either way, you want to start off with a basic idea, and a scheduled out chunk of time where you can sit down and work on this without being interrupted.

To generate ideas for an existing project, try writing a single sentence summary of your plot to place in the center of your mind map.

If you need to generate a plot idea try to start by thinking of what genre of books you enjoy reading. For example, you want to write a fantasy, then start with Fantasy in the center of your mind map.

From there, continue to create bubbles spreading outwards from the central idea. Again, if you already working with a plot, try starting with some of the elements you already have. Being to ask ‘What if…?” questions.

If you need a plot, think about some of the tropes common to that genre. Look at how you can flip them on their head. What books have you read in the past? What was it about those books that drew you in, or what would you have done differently to make those books more interesting?

Once you populate enough ideas, you can take the ideas you like and put them into your brain dump for use when you outline.

My question for you today is; What is your favorite method of outlining, or are you a pantser you likes to see where the adventure takes you?

If you want to check out the first part of this series, you can click HERE to check it out.

Either way, I hope you enjoyed today post and until then, I’ll see you next time!


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