How do you go about brainstorming your story? How does that impact your style and form landmarks to guide you along the journey? I've been thinking about brainstorming a lot over the past couple of weeks. I recently turned in a short story for my Fiction 2 workshop at Grub Street. I had waited until the last minute to finish it and was burned out for a few days afterward. I had three weeks to write my next story for the workshop but I was unable to settle on a topic or theme. Procrastination got the best of me - Today - I've got a rough outline and less than a week to go (And I'm sitting here blogging to boot!)
I tend to write loose outlines for my stories. If I know too much about the plot or characters, I lose interest and find the story boring to write. (It's already written in my head!)
I recently met a writer who does mind mapping to brainstorm. I gave it a shot but I wrote too much about each little piece and my page became a total mess. I usually make lists - start with a character's name, for example, and then list out everything that pops into my head.
Last night I had an epiphany - I brainstorm inmoments: The crooked frame on a wall that's noticed as the protagonist descends an old staircase, a warning label that is slightly smudged, the way a plate looks after dinner at a nice restaurant - serrated knife lying over a pile of gristle. These are the kind of moments that propel my writing and give me pieces to plug in, draw from and expand upon.
I jotted down the following notes during my class last night:
-Always keeps suit on
-Plaque/pic of Bronson & space ship/American flag - but he is British
- Bedroom locker - called locker b/c it is so small - cubbies for clothes
- taped pics to walls & ceiling (monkey in space suit), political cartoons
- pics of home & people - how quickly you yearn for details after the planet amazes you
Drop out airlock in bottom of ship
Doesn't have enough time to wait for depressurization & hits emergency button to suck himself out when going out in the end
never use all 5
Pretty random, right? I know the basic story (astronauts collecting space trash) but everything on the page is a tiny moment/image from (maybe) a TBD part of the story. The organization of my thoughts changed on the page after every new moment - I moved down the page, across, left huge chunks of space. It's my style.