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  1. #1
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    Brainstorming for plot ideas

    I was just wondering what kind of things you guys do when you're stuck trying to come up with interesting plot ideas/events. Besides the usual walk/shower/read/etc, what have you guys found that works?



  2. #2
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    Do you mean for a whole book? Or just when you're fishing about for elements within an already imagined plot?

  3. #3
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    Within. I know the general (main) plot events, but I was wondering if there are things that people do to get their creative thinking going within a certain setting

  4. #4
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    I page through old queries posted on Writers Net. None of that s*** ever gets published anyway, so I figure it's a graveyard of ideas, all lying there fallow, waiting for some enterprising wordsmith--namely me--to string together in a high-concept pitch that'll knock Query Shark's molars out.

    Sitting on the toilet with The New Yorker also works.

  5. #5
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    Jayce, rich.

    Josh, okay, then, a wholehearted yes. I look for research experiences. By this I mean not just research for stuff I know I need to get a handle on for the plot, but I get involved with folks and events related to important elements in my WIP. So I've got a girl band in this plot. I asked my guitar teacher to let me hang about when he did some performances with his band and just filled up my brain with possibilities. I found a girl band in my area and have hung out at their practices and come along with some performances. Last summer I went camping in the specific area I'm modeling my setting after. I hiked and explored and went into dive bars and trespassed on ranches and explored old mines and ghost towns. I'm setting up a go-along with a geologist who's studying the rocks in the area I'm interested in. I like to put myself physically in the worlds of my characters to experience them a bit. I find that when I sit down with fingers on the keys all those real experiences are a flood of ideas. I go to events I know will draw the sort of characters I'm dealing with. For this novel, new age conferences, black powder shoots, music stuff, poker games. I signed my husband up for a poker tournament and watched the play. I entered an ax throwing contest. With these sorts of research experience, I try not to get carried away with the notebook; I try to just become part of things, get into them. Best part: you can write off all such adventures and you get a little pass into all sorts of behind the scenes lives.

    Interviews are great, too. I know my grand finale will be a shootout of sorts, but with non-lethal weapons. I've tracked down a guy who trains law enforcement all over the country in such weapons. I've asked him to do a series of interviews with me. The first was just a general, brain picking thing to give me ideas on how I could play with such a standoff/shootout. The next couple will be more pointed. I interview all the time. When folks know that you're just picking their brains for fiction and won't be quoted, you get great stuff.

    I'm also into casing. You know? Just going out into the day looking for what's not under lock and key. I case people, events, places, ideas.

  6. #6
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    Thanks CK. That was basically the info I was looking for. Now I just have to think up events that go along with those settings I have

  7. #7
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    Personally, when I get stuck I read over what I have written and look out for characters or places I have mentioned that I could elaborate on or give a bigger role later in the story. I let my boyfriend read over what I have written and he will let me know if he thinks there is anything my story is lacking, or where HE see's it going and I take that all into account and re-evaluate where I had envisioned it going.
    If I'm still blocked, I go a drive or a walk to small villages or big towns - my iPod in my ears and just wait for inspiration to come to me. For example, I went a walk through a forest near where I live and came across a tiny village I didn't know existed and new I wanted to replicate it in my story. So many ideas came to me and I took notes while I was there - being in the setting really helped to inspire ideas and new characters.

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