April 14, 2021 by Sarra Cannon
Brainstorming great ideas for a novel or series can truly be some of the most fun you’ll have as a writer. I love to brainstorm novel ideas, but there is a lot more that goes into taking an idea from that first spark to a full-length novel or a five-book series and beyond.
In this video and blog series, I’ll be starting here with five tips for making the most out of your brainstorming session, as well as five methods I love to use for brainstorming great ideas.
In future videos, we’ll go into depth about what makes an idea “great”, how to choose between your best ideas, how to stick with one idea, how to create a book of master lists to help with your inspiration, and more.
Watch the first video in the series here. Read on to find out how to brainstorm your great ideas.
Let’s start with five tips for making the most of your brainstorming session.
When you’re brainstorming, literally anything goes! Don’t censor your ideas or judge them in any way, or you will risk missing out on the best ones. Instead give yourself permission to come up with outlandish, ridiculous, even stupid ideas. I promise there will be some amaxing ideas in there, too! Just let go and see what happens!
Write everything down in a place where you can easily find it or reference it again. There’s nothing worse than coming up with the most brilliant idea of your life… and losing it.
Brainstorming is almost always better with a partner. Someone fun to bounce ideas off of and build on each other’s energy is priceless when it comes to opening yourself up to great ideas. Don’t pick someone who is going to judge your ideas or be negative. Good energy only!
Your ideas will flow better when you get yourself into a creative mood. It’s hard to brainstorm when there are lots of annoying sounds or you’ve got a deadline or extra pressure on you for one reason or another. Instead, find a time when you have a lot of energy and you feel happy and relaxed. Set the mood and do what you need to do to get into creative flow.
Having fun with this is the most important part. Forget any outside pressure or need to make things unique or profitable. Don’t rush yourself. Just let your imagination run wild! The more fun you have, the better your ideas will be.
Now that you’ve gotten yourself in the right mindset and have all of your materials ready to go, let’s discuss five proven methods for getting your ideas flowing.
This is a book of Top Ten lists of your favorite things, as well as ideas and inspiration that come to you as you consume stories and the ideas of other writers. Keep track of what inspires you, and it will become a valuable resource for years to come.
Ask yourself “What if…” and see where your imagination takes you. The possibilities are endless! It can be helpful to start with a basic idea or prompt. (Ex: “What if you woke up one day and…”) Challenge yourself to come up with at least 10 ideas for each prompt.
There is inspiration all around us! Look to current events, the daily news cycle, and even your own life for the spark of a new idea. You can also look to legends, lore, and mysteries or inspirational figures from the past for ideas that light you up.
If you have some idea of the type of story or the emotion or atmosphere you want to evoke in your own story, pick a show, a handful of books, or a few movies that tap into the type of story you want to write. Immerse yourself in that atmosphere and then give yourself space to daydream. See what comes up. Who knew binge watching could be so productive?
Choose a fun and supportive brainstorming partner (or several) and start with a set of parameters (eg. “Haunted House stories Set in current day”). Rapid fire ideas back and forth and see what comes up. Don’t censor or feel pressure. Just have fun with it!
These aren’t the only brainstorming methods, of course. These are just a few of my favorites. Comment below with your favorite brainstorming methods!
Throughout this video and blog series, I’ll have several free worksheets and downloads for you. Today’s download is a Brainstorming workbook that goes over the five tips and methods above and includes worksheets to help guide your brainstorming session.
Download it below when you sign up for my newsletter list! (If you’re already on my list, check today’s email for a fresh link to the full Heart Breathings Resource Library.)
I hope you enjoy it, and I’ll see you next week with a look inside my Book of Master Lists.
I have been self-publishing my books since 2010, and in that time, I've sold well over half a million copies of my books. I'm not a superstar or a huge bestseller, but I have built an amazing career that brings me great joy. Here at Heart Breathings, I hope to help you find that same level of success. Let's do this.