Friday, February 13, 2009


Brain. Storm. My two favorite words.

INKED UP is coming back for its final revisions, and I’m in the planning stages of the third one. April and her stamping friends continue to get into trouble of course, but how exactly can I raise the stakes on them? How to keep the books coming in a fresh way?

Author Emilie Richards blogged about spending a week in Florida brainstorming with her writing friends. I don’t have the luxury of that – yet – but I do have great writer friends. And they're always available for a good brainstorming session.

The best thing is that they know my characters almost as well as I do. They know what April may or may not do. They know what Mitch is thinking about this relationship. They can guess what path Rocky might be taking.

There is nothing like the energy that comes from several people tossing out ideas. We follow the number one rule of brainstorming, that no idea is a dumb idea. The only question allowed is “Why not?” or “What’s next?” and soon ideas are flying and build to a crescendo.

The magic continues after I get home. My brain is still throwing out scenarios and situations, sticky wickets and complications. All the connections that are needed for a good read.

Kurt Vonnegut said for a happy life, get a gang. I say get a gang and brainstorm.


Sheila Connolly said...

It is fun, isn't it? But you have to pick your brainstorming buddies carefully. You want people who will take your off-the-wall idea and say, "Cool! And then what happens?" Not naysayers who will whine, "nobody would ever believe that."

Betty Hechtman said...

I pick brains where ever I find them. My husband has come up with stuff, my is always available. My son's girlfriend has given me ideas. Even one of my son's friend's dog who I've never actually met offered inspriation.

Monica Ferris said...

You're right, Sheila. On the other hand, I have discovered that the mere act of sitting down to brainstorm will set off the fireworks in whatever part of my brain that storms. That happened just the other day. I needed a motive for a character to murder my victim and just asking Ellen Rose to brainstorm with me for one gave me the motive -- which I couldn't think of beforehand.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Emilie is a wonderful mentor, and I totally agree with you, Terri, that I envy Emilie Richards spending so much time with her writer friends brainstorming. They've been doing this for years, and they've developed a highly effective formula for how they spend their time together--who talks when for how long and so on. Emilie is not only a fantastic author, but a very, very smart lady.