Tuesday, September 15, 2015

NaNoWriMo Prep: Brainstorming

Welcome back to our NaNoWriMo prep course! If you followed along last time, then I hope you found a writing craft book that you enjoyed. If you missed the first post in this series, check it out.

If you've never done NaNo before, mark my words: Writing 1,667 words a day is asking a lot of yourself. You will most likely need at least an hour set aside for the actual writing business. That doesn't include the coming-up-with-ideas part. Starting your brainstorming now will help save you time. What do you think of when you think about this newly blossoming story idea? Are you feeling a certain mood? Got a line of dialogue you just know you're going to use? Maybe you can see where the novel is set? Write these down somewhere! Review them frequently as you gear up to start writing.
With my 2012 project, I took 15 minutes at the end of each writing session to brainstorm what I would write the next day. That was the extent of my preparatory work. That's called pantsing. It works well for a lot of people. Whether you like to pants it or like to plot beforehand, here are some brainstorming tips to help you out:

1) Record your ideas
Whether you keep a notebook with you at all times, or e-mail ideas to yourself on your phone--make sure you are able to record even the tiniest of ideas at any time of day (or night!) What use is all this brainstorming if you can't remember what you come up with?

2) Daydream with a purpose
Everyone has idle brain time during the day. Use it wisely. Sitting in traffic? Think about your book. Wiping a toddler bum? Think about your book. Think about your characters. What would they do in your situation? Rage at the other cars? Hold back vomit? So many possibilities!

3) Set aside brainstorming time
More than just using your everyday idle time, you need to actually set aside time for thinking about your book. This will also get you in the habit of setting aside time for writing your book, which you will need in November.

I would love to see your brainstorming tips in the comments! And come back in two weeks for our next installment: using character interviews.


  1. My tip: keep a notebook by your bed.
    During the brainstorming phase, I'll often jot down a thought or idea or question pertaining to my new story to mull over as I'm falling asleep. Often my subconscious will come up with more creative ideas than my fully-awake brain would during the day :)

  2. I'm looking forward to Nano! It's always my most productive writing month of the year.

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