March 3, 2014

Daydreaming as a Method of Brainstorming

    Brainstorming.  What is brainstorming?  I like the definition by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.  
:  a group problem-solving technique that involves the spontaneous contribution of ideas from all members of the group; also :  the mulling over of ideas by one or more individuals in an attempt to devise or find a solution to a problem
     Some sources used the word brainstorming exclusively for group idea generating, while others talked about an individual generating ideas or solving a problem.  In the manner that I use 'brainstorming' it is both.  As writers we have a myriad of skills to learn and master.  Or at least it feels that way.  One of them is brainstorming.  Often times you may be doing it on your own.  

There are many methods of brainstorming that are listed out there and everyone has different methods that work better for them.  While I will use listing, research, and free writing depending on what I am working on, one of my most utilized methods of brainstorming is to daydream.  To sit in my own mind and think.  Not all daydreaming is the same.  It is not all mindlessly wandering.  But all types of daydreams can have value to a creative person.  The very beginning of some of my ideas have come out of wasting time away daydreaming in my room (or elsewhere.)  When you have one of these ideas that sticks out or sticks with you, remember to write them down.  They can float away just as easily as they come.  

Now like I said not all daydreams are just mindlessly wandering.  With the use of both focus and a good imagination you can turn your daydreaming into productive time.  This can be done at many different points in your creative process.  Just chose something you want to work on and focus on that.  Turn it over in your mind and analyse it.  Put it in different situations.  See how it reacts. Here are some of the different ways I go about productively daydreaming.


Try to picture things in as much detail as you can.  
  • The locations
  • The buildings
  • The fauna
  • The flora
  • The characters
  • The tools or weapons
You don't have to use every detail in your writing, but you may find yourself feeling more confident than when all you know is that Tom's shirt is red.

Thought Experiments 

Test out different ideas in your head to find which ones fit together.  Try putting a character in different situations to see how they might react.  Try it several times to see if a different reaction works better.  Remove them from their normal world to see how they handle.  You never know what you will learn about them.  Try visualizing other people in the world to see how the world itself works.  You can also use this method on aspects of the story other than the characters.


Literally talk to one of your characters or several of them.  Ask them questions.  Just so you know, they don’t always answer.  Remember that you can also look at how one character sees another character.  So in your imagined interview you can ask about anything.  Other characters, how government works, and even the climate are all subjects you can attempt to explore through one of these interviews.  

There are countless different perspectives and methods to use in your brainstorming.  Try things out and find what works for you.  

Writing Exercise: Color & Description 

    Choose a color that uses a nature or geographical word in the name (ie: ocean blue, forest green, coral pink).  Try to describe the color without using the nature or geographical word used in the name.  For an example, imagine that you are trying to describe the color of moss green to someone who has lived their entire life in the desert and doesn't know what moss looks like.  In this particular case any forest related word may be useless.  The point of the exercise is to work on how well you can describe something.  Challenge yourself and have fun.  


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