Let’s face it, coming up with novel (pun intended), intriguing, imaginative, ingenious ideas can be difficult.  And in the field of fiction writing, it’s practically a must! Topics, characters, plot, settings, and more demand our creativity.  But sometimes, maybe oftentimes, we can find ourselves blanking on ideas, frustrated, and stuck.

Today we’ll revisit that old school favorite: brainstorming.  My plan is to summarize a few different brainstorming strategies and include some references/links for further information.  Have a go at it and let me know which (if any) you find most helpful when you are faced with some sort of writer’s block!


  • Clustering/Webbing: Begin with the main idea.  Maybe for a new book idea you could start with whatever inspires your writing: a character, a theme, a general topic.  From there, draw lines going out from this and begin writing down other ideas and possibilities.  As your thoughts increase you can go back and group some together.  You could write, draw, etc.




  • Free writing: Determine a time or amount and just write until that time or amount is accomplished.  The idea is to not have any pressures in regards to usefulness, eloquence, or structure.  You just might find that it helps you breakthrough to some great ideas!pencil-918449_1280



  • Mood board: I was pleased to find this in brainstorming strategies.  I’ve heard about this in writing blogs referred to as an “aesthetics board” and have been finding similar strategies helpful lately.  Basically, find some pictures, quotes, etc. to put together a visual inspiration.  I plan to do a separate blog post on this and go into more detail.


  • Teleporting Storming: I thought this one sounded fun from John Boitnott’s article (see reference below).  The idea here is to imagine yourself somewhere or sometime else and think about what kinds of ideas you would have in that situation.  What kind of story would elementary school you write? What kind of story ideas would result if you were in a tent camping and writing?  Similarly, Lindsay Kolowich suggests in her article to actually try brainstorming in different settings.  spock-1541528_1280


There are many other brainstorming strategies available, much more than I was aware of when I first started this post, including some intriguing group brainstorming strategies! For more information, see the links provided below or google brainstorming and enjoy 🙂


References and Further Information!

  1. Boitnott, John. “10 Longtime Brainstorming Techniques that Still Work.”  Found at http://www.inc.com/john-boitnott/10-longtime-brainstorming-techniques-that-still-work.html
  2. Kolowich, Lindsay. “7 Brainstorming Tricks to Inspire Brilliant Ideas.” Found at http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/brainstorm-productive#sm.0000fuy5nbimbevet3x1inzgvbwbe
  3. The Writing Center at UNC-Chapel Hill.  “Brainstorming.” Found at http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/brainstorming/