When you enter a classroom dedicated to show you how to write a book, the teacher will most likely give you the rigorous task of brainstorming. Today, I would like to tell you my own experience with brainstorming.
nouna conference technique of solvingspecific problems, amassing information,stimulating creative thinking,developing new ideas,etc., by unrestrainedand spontaneousparticipation indiscussion.”-Dictionary.reference.com
I would like you to read the definition of brainstorming above and simply pick out word for word. The first problem I see with brainstorming is that in order to brainstorm you have to have an idea to go off of. This means, there is no brainstorming if you have no clue how to start writing. A lot of teachers, specifically in high school, seem to believe that the idea comes from within the brainstorming process, but it doesn’t. Brainstorming just helps you branch off from your already brilliant idea. As a writer, I will tell you first hand that brainstorming is a pain-in-the-butt. In fact, I hated it so much that I decided to not do it while writing the first draft of my book. I later found that no matter how much I hate it, brainstorming is necessary. All the gibberish you hear from teachers about plot, setting, characters, and conflict are all part of the brainstorming process. Again, I still warn you to NOT brainstorm unless you have a good enough idea to go off of. If you don’t have a good idea, then the brainstorming process will just become a strenuous mess of stress and lost time.
When I first got the idea for my book, I had been brainstorming without even realizing it. All I did was buy a journal and write down a few bullet points for a story idea I had. Then, I said to myself, “I like this,” and kept writing. Brainstorming does not have to be hard, but it will be without, again, the right idea. Here is what I advise you to do: buy a notebook, journal, or get a pack of sticky notes. Next, start listing every story idea that is in your head. This could be the name of a character you have in mind, a title, or even an emotion you want to put in your book. From there, begin to build off of the ideas. Which ones are bogus? Which ideas are simply just not good enough? Just scratch them out and focus on the few or many that are left. You need to now try brainstorming with each idea. Some of the ideas, you might come to realize, go hand in hand with each other and you can use them all in one book.
Now, that’s one way to do it, and in most minds, that is the correct way to start off your book. For me, I was young and careless. All I wanted was to get my story down on paper, and so I did. I wrote the book basing it off of the small bulleted outline I mentioned previously, and finished it with a smile. Little did I know how much of a mess the editing process would be. There’s several things in my book that I have now realized that I could have built off of. I also noticed that a lot of the times I had strayed from my main point of the novel. So, now I must re-read my book, write down all of each event, and go through and build or eliminate. After that, I can finally go back and add detail or fix grammar mistakes. As you can see, I probably made the editing process ten times harder on myself than it had to be. All I had to do while I was writing was follow my brainstorming layout (had I ever made one). Please take my experience to heart and don’t put yourself through the trouble I did.
Although I got myself into a messy situation after not brainstorming, I am now picking up the mess. The video below displays some of the brainstorming techniques I am using to help make my book better. I hope you try them out because they really are helpful, especially if you are a visual learner.
Jinapher J. Hoffman