The Writing Process: Finding Ideas

The next step in the writing process is finding ideas. I’ve already talked about inspiration in an early post, so we now go to one of the best bits of writing: brainstorming!

Right, how do we brainstorm? Well, this is what I like to call, chaos writing. Brainstorming isn’t only just sitting in your chair, staring off into the distance, waiting for an idea to float into your head and call you up. It’s pouring out whatever comes into your mind, no matter how crazy it may sound.

When brainstorming, you aren’t focusing on anything in particular, so the Lord is free to speak and give you ideas. The only thing required to do when brainstorming is write, it’s simple as that. It doesn’t matter how crazy it sounds, put it on the paper. The Lord will reveal an idea somewhere in that chaotic mess.

After you get an idea of what you might like to write about, you’ll then move on to brainstorming the parts of the novel. These parts are: Characters, Plot, Theme, and Setting.

For each one, provide a brief description, but don’t go into details, that will come later on. For now, get an outline down.

So for characters, here’s an example: imagine a man in his late thirties, we’ll call him Tom, who works in a discount store, and he’s slowly becoming deaf. Now he can’t hear the instructions given to him. As you can imagine, there’s a million possibilities for a novel right there in that single character.

Now here’s an example of the plot, still following Tom’s story: He soon becomes completely deaf, and his small income can’t provide him a hearing aid, so he tries to earn money somewhere else to meet his needs. Already, more ideas have just come up, and now a full story should be coming into focus. It’s certainly giving me ideas 🙂

Right, so theme. Theme is what your story is about. What you novel is communicating to the reader. What it’s trying to say. So the theme in Tom’s story would be the difficulty of living in our world with a limiting disability. Now even more ideas are coming in, and if you’re getting excited, too bad, because Tom’s mine 😀 No, feel free to use him, he’s my gift to you, my readers. Unless you have a better character!

For setting, what I do is create my own town from scratch, but it’s all up to you. For example, in my novel, the Restoring, the characters all live in a town called Coldgrove. The name is pretty self descriptive. It’s set in a freezing town raining with snow and cluttered with dead trees. I wanted the town to reflect the theme, so I created a place that reflected the condition of death. But if creating your own town is not for you, setting your story in a real city, like New York, is the next best thing. But just make sure it’s accurate, like the names of the streets and suburbs. You don’t want readers thinking you know nothing about your setting.

Once you have all your ideas down, and you have the one you’re excited about, it’s time to put them all together! Once this happens, it truly is a magical time. When I find the idea, it rattles around in my mind, and excitement just bubbles. Once it keeps you up at night, you’ve found your idea.

For people just trying to get through life, and don’t have writing in mind, don’t worry. God knows the plot and theme of your story. It’s what all our lives are about: Redemption.

God Bless. I hope this helps.