Every year, NaNoWriMo rolls around, and most years, I have a vague idea of what I want to write, but this year… nothing. This year, my mind is a sea of blank ideas. It’s partially due to a large workload that barely gives me any time for my own writing lately, coupled with deadlines (that I’m probably going to miss coming up here). That doesn’t stop NaNo from coming around, though, so it’s time to get down to business and brainstorm up an idea.
There are several ways to come up with an idea, and everyone has different methods. Some will work better than others, but here are a few ways to come up with something to write:
- Pick a starting point. This doesn’t mean you need to know anything about what you want to write, but choose a specific thing to start with. This can be setting, a character, a sentence. Find that picture in your head and think about what it means and what kind of jumping off point it might be.
- Choose your theme. Themes are really the meat of the story, what it’s all about, what the end goal of telling this story means.
- Find your character. It can be just one character. Find one that speaks to you and tells you what the story is. For some writers, the story comes first and then the characters come second. For others, it’s the other way around.
- Find an inspiration. Inspiration is a tricky thing that comes and goes. If you’re lucky enough to find one for your story, grab onto it.
- Talk it out. A great way to brainstorm is to brainstorm with someone else. They can help you narrow things down and also offer a different opinion and give you new ideas you may not have thought about.
Coming up with a story idea, especially when you don’t have one, can be a struggle, but luckily, NaNo is still a few weeks away. So get your noses to the grindstones and come up with something fast! If you’re a pantser, well, then, you’ve got nothing to worry about, but as for the rest of us, I think I need to start doing some real work.