Brainstorming Etiquette

by Lynette Eason

Writing can be an incredibly isolating venture. For those of us who are introverts, it’s not a big deal. We actually like the “aloneness”. However, whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, there are times during the writing process where we need to come together with others and brainstorm.

Brainstorming is an amazing process. For example, I was having a hard time figuring out where I needed to go next in my story. I had a situation where I needed a teen to leave the hospital and disappear. But I didn’t know why I needed her to do that. At least not completely. I had a vague idea. 


So, the weekend of April 28-29, there was a writers conference called, Weekend With The Writers. It was held in Greenville, SC, my hometown. Two of my best writing buds, Ronie Kendig and Carrie Stuart Parks, were coming into town and you better believe, they weren’t leaving until I’d picked their brains. 
Yes, that’s right, folks, I was desperate enough to take hostages! LOL. 
Fortunately, I didn’t have to. They were willing to jump right in and offer a very simple, believable reason for the girl to walk out. I wanted to smack myself. Why hadn’t I thought of that? 
And truly, it didn’t matter, they had thought of it and were willing to share it. So now, I know exactly where I’m going with the story and I’m eager to get to writing it. And guess what? The whole process took maybe an hour.

You can’t put a price on that, my friends.

So…brainstorming…

What are some basic “rules” or etiquette for brainstorming.

  1. Set a time limit. Don’t hog the brains of your fellow brainstormers.
  2. Come to the session prepared. This is a huge factor. Not being prepared wastes everyone’s time. Time that could be spend brainstorming.
  3. This kind of goes along with being prepared, but focus on one thing at a time. Do you need to brainstorm character motivation, what happens next in the story, where to place your story, or what? Pick one thing and get that taken care of before moving on to the next thing.
  4. Don’t be stingy with your ideas. Just like there are no stupid questions in the classroom setting, there are no dumb ideas. The whole purpose for brainstorming is to throw out as many ideas that you can so that the person has a lot to choose from or work with. And guess what? She may not pick any one idea, but your ideas may be exactly the spark she needs to get going once again on the story. Focus on quantity at this point, not necessarily quality.
  5. Don’t be judgmental. Even if you think the story idea stinks, keep that to yourself and see what kind of ideas you can throw out to make it better.
These are just five simple “rules” to make a brainstorming session run smoothly. 
They are not all-inclusive, but I do believe they are several of the most important ones. 
What about you? What do you enjoy most about brainstorming? Do you have a few writer friends you can turn to when you get stuck? Or to help you get going? If not, you need to work on finding a few. And it doesn’t have to be people you meet with face to face. Online brainstorming works just as well! Just ask my fabulous FaceTiming brainstorming buddy, DiAnn Mills!

Thanks and Happy Brainstorming!

TWEETABLES

Lynette Eason grew up in Greenville, SC. She attended Converse College where she earned her Masters degree in Education. Lynette is the author of more than forty works of romantic suspense, with over 500,000 copies sold of trade editions. In the 2017 edition of Christian Market, she was named as one of the top five romantic suspense authors in the industry. In 2016, she won the Carol Award, the Golden Scrolls Book of the Year award as well as the Daphne Award in her category. She also finaled in several other contests. One crowning achievement that she is most proud of is the fact that she finaled in the 2016 James Patterson co-writer competition, landing in the top ten out of thousands of entries. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). She teaches at writing conference across the southeast. She also travels extensively and is excited that she is getting numerous requests to speak and teach at various events.