Friday, June 10, 2011

Have an idea? Brainstorm it into reality~

I've spent the previous two days flying across the Atlantic discussing writing. Numerous people have told me they wanted to write, but didn't know where to start. One pilot said, "I have an idea, but I don't know how to develop it."

He knew what he wanted to write about, but he didn't know about the inciting incident, plot points or character arcs. So I said, "Tell me about your story."

Not to give his story away, he said, "There is a woman... her son... and this is why the boy is special and how he got that way and why he dies."

Wow! What a great idea. We proceeded to brain storm how to develop this story. He gave me the basics, I gave him an inciting incident. We built on that and developed plot point one, then two. He also had world governments as the antagonist... but I learned early on that you need to have the villain be a person, not a group. We discovered who that individual would be. I'm seeing his woman grow internally and externally and we found her cause. We found her point of ultimate commitment. We discussed the final line of the book.

Much later after we had landed, were on the bus going to the hotel and he said, "I'm thinking the boy is going to..." He was thinking. He also didn't join us for dinner. I'm hoping he was busy putting his thoughts on paper.

This discussion gave me the idea of how anyone can write a book. Learn structure. Understand the inciting incident, plot points, and character arcs... then get a group of writers and brainstorm! I had so much fun helping him develop his story... I'm thinking I would love to help someone else.

If anyone would like to brainstorm a story idea, and you are coming to the PNWA's writer's conference in August, leave me a message. I, and depending upon the schedule of my critique sisters, will give one person a free brainstorming session to help move their idea toward becoming a novel.

What are your ideas for developing a story?

Enjoy the journey!

~ Karlene


  1. Lots and lots of thinking! I'm plotting right now and I'm always getting stuck, then spending more time brainstorming away. Great post! I hope you have fun at the conference brainstorming away!

  2. Brainstorming can be so powerful. Bravo to your for giving that pilot that power Karlene! What an excellent idea to offer a brainstorming sessions to our followers. I love it! Helping is what we're all about. :)

  3. So how does one join this site? Or be involved? My noir thriller, The Beautiful Evil is set to be released end of June.

  4. What fun, and how great for that pilot, Karlene! Brainstorming is a good way to develop a plot for a story. I'm convinced it's the best way to overcome glitches once the story has been developed—the kind of glitches we can't, for whatever reason, seem to overcome on our own. Good idea!

  5. Lydia... we need to have a conference call an brainstorm over the phone. I would love that. But I really want you to come to Seattle!

  6. Thanks Heather, I am so glad you liked that idea. I have so much fun brainstorming ideas with you and Linda... I thought it would be a great idea!

  7. Robbie, Welcome! You joined the site... now you're part of the critique sisters writers network. We would love to have you join us on Writer's Chat on Monday night. Heather host's that. Also, Heather has a brilliant writing blog and she's very helpful to authors. Contact her at
    I know that she would love support you too.

  8. Thanks Linda. Don't you love how I volunteered you? :) But our brainstorming sessions are so productive. Be it the beginning... or those little nagging, how to fix things. So much fun.

  9. I'm curious, where were you and the pilot when you were talking? In the cockpit? I wish I could attend the conference, it sounds awesome, but I'll be out of the country.

  10. Hi Em, yes... were were in the cockpit. A great place to think, talk and brain storm. The hours are long over the ocean. Sorry you'll be out of the country! Maybe next time? Where will you be?

  11. You. Are. Amazing. Do you realize how much you just helped someone? Who knows, you might just see that in print in the future and YOU helped make it happen. Talk about paying it forward....

  12. I go for a run. Most of my ideas hit me then. When I can't write them down on paper. I'm going to start running while holding a pen, so I can jot them down on my sweating arms and legs. :D

    (Note to self: make sure to use non-washable markers).

  13. How sweet are you, Karlene.....

    I wish I could meet you all there at the conference. Hopefully one day we will meet.

    Brainstorming is amazing. Imagine the millions of ideas that have come out of groups of people brainstorming on one concept.

  14. Hi Karlene,
    that's an awesome post.
    What patience you have to help someone brainstorm - but you obviously did a brilliant job because he was thinking and thinking about it.

    Then comes the hard part, writing it all down.

    The critique group I belong to here in Melbourne Australia is wonderful - we brainstorm ideas and come up with sometimes hilarious results. But we also question characters as if they're real, and work out their true motivations. It's bizarre yet satisfying.