It is from the mind that all else springs forth. The mind is certainly where genius comes from. Brainstorming literally means a storm of the mind, a sudden zap. And that includes, I suppose, story ideas and characters and all else. Brainstorming is such a crucial when it comes to birthing a new story; it’s needed in the planning of the plot, character development, the title, and so much more. I must admit that sometimes coming up with certain things in my book is even a group collaboration for me.
This weekend I’ve been working my butt off on that story even if it’s been only recently. The idea is intriguing but some things about the characters and plot have been murky. The title, to my surprise, was the easiest part and the rest was somewhat difficult. The title was approved by family right away as a not-totally-lame title. The plot and characters, however, needed a bit of tweaking.
It’s really interesting what you do when you put your mind to it. Determination brings about everything else.
When it comes to brainstorming, first comes the spark. The “inspiration”, so to speak, or “the muse”. But, as most writers know, that usually isn’t good enough. Usually, writers need to work hard to get to know the characters and the story and to stay true to what they are. And, like getting to know a real-life person, that takes a lot of work. So, then after the spark, comes the work and then the release and then the actual product. But that certainly takes a while to deal with for sure.
That’s how it’s been for this story. The characters were a bit murky, especially the main character (who is more of an antihero than someone actually sympathetic). It was hard to make sure that each character was human and that the story wasn’t sappy or overly dramatic but something more than a soap opera. And so this weekend, I got to working on how to make that happen. And it took a while.
I realized that, as a writer, I do need the input of would-be readers and there’s nothing wrong with asking for their help. There usually aren’t wrong ways to do things in writing, after all, just better ones and I want to make my writing and my stories done the best that I could have done so. And, in order for that to be done, I had to do things for the full potential. I needed other people’s spark too because sometimes my mind needs a little help. And that’s where collaboration comes into place and when cooperation becomes necessary in order to get things done more quickly than I would have.
Nothing really gets the mind working quite like brainstorming does. It can be hard and distracting but it really does get the mind working. At any point, I just could have said “Oh, that’s good” and settled but I knew that wasn’t good enough. I wanted the best possible thing for each story.
Brainstorming is the real work of writers. Every step, almost, is brainstorming and tweaking. You have to think up the words, after all. Writing isn’t just having the words glide on a page, easily pressed, but it’s work. It might be easy to just give up but that isn’t quite the right thing to do.
And so, as a writer, I will keep working and keep brainstorming until my characters and the plot are the best they can be.