Short Story: Brainstorming 101

In a valiant attempt to focus on nano this year, I decided to chronicle my journey creating a short humorous story as a series of blog posts I could schedule over November.

I’ll reference these later, but I use ‘top ten’ and ‘what if’ when brainstorming.

Top Ten

I’ve also seen this as rule of six or even twenty, but I personally like ten.

First write out the question you are trying to answer.  Then write out how you would answer that question without repeating yourself.

The concept is that the first couple ideas are common.  They are right there because you may have just read them or saw the movie. The next few are harder to come up with, but are not as common. The last batch can be very hard to come up with and are generally wack-a-doodle.

Example: Why is an accountant in jail

  1. He was set-up and was really innocent
  2. He’s actually undercover
  3. His partner sold him out and left him holding the bag
  4. He has a twin brother that he is taking the fall for
  5. He stole all of the retirement for the local police
  6. He hopped into an Uber which happened to be the getaway car
  7. He stole half-a-penny on every deposit in a bank
  8. He would not release his client list or decoder for his books
  9. He used to work for the mob and was tricked into giving up the books and then put in jail for his protection
  10. He was taken over by a demon or other evil outsider and made to do terrible things

What if:

The second technique is the ‘what if’. Maybe I’m just a commitment-phobe, but I find adding the what-if very freeing.  It’s like trying on the idea without actually buying it.  Take the little nugget of an idea, add what if to the front and see where it leads.

Examples: Still my accountant from above

  • What if the accountant was innocent, but became so disillusioned by his experiences, that it left him bitter and hating the establishment? So he would do anything to stick it to the man.
  • What if the accountant was involved with looting retirement funds, but did not realize the source of the income? His goal would be to try and figure out how to make amends
  • What if the accountant was left by the love of his life for a rich guy and he made it his mission to figure out how to bring this man low?

Once you have these lists you decide based on your situation which idea is the most workable.

What do you do to brainstorm?

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