I read about Michelle Lim’s book and work when she guested on my friend and fellow Desert Breeze author Naomi Musch’s blog a week ago.
Naomi put me in touch with Michelle and Michelle graciously agreed to guest here with pretty much the same post since my readers are not the same as Naomi’s.
Also, for those of you who are performers, the issues Michelle brings up for conflict in writing apply very well to the development of a performance piece.
So…. Take it away, Michelle!
Joan, thank you so much for inviting me to visit your blog.
For those of you who haven’t heard, during my Idea Sparking: How to Brainstorm Conflict in Your Novel Tour I’m having a drawing for a Free Kindle Paperwhite. For each different blog I visit that you comment on during my tour, you get one entry. Each day I will post any new tour locations on my blog.
Brainstorming Through Writer’s Block Idea Sparking Style
Whether you are planning to write a book during NaNoWriMo, or you are working on a deadline, brainstorming is essential throughout the project.
Why? Because we all hit a wall sometimes. Because we all could use better story twists. Because we all need to jump start our minds to put words on the page.
Just like any singer will warm up their voice before a performance, so the writer should warm up their brain before they sit down to write.
In my new book Idea Sparking: How to Brainstorm Conflict in Your Novel there are lots of tips to finding your way out of a corner, writer’s block, and a sagging middle.
In the beginning of the book I cover a few essentials of brainstorming before delving into the strategies themselves. Here are a few essentials you should brainstorm at the beginning of every scene:
*Goals – What does the character want to achieve in this scene?
*Stakes – Why does it matter to the character and reader?
*Obstacles – What stands in the way of them meeting their goal?
Sounds simple right? It’s amazing how often we forget to add in one of the elements above. The result is a lack of conflict and tension in our stories that keep readers glued to the page. Let’s try applying these steps:
Goal: Jake needs to get past the bully in the high school hallway and still get to class on time.
Stakes: Jake could be late for class or get beat up.
Obstacles: The girl Jake likes wants to talk to him as he passes by, He drops his books making a loud noise, and the Bully is standing right next to the class doorway where he is headed.
Brainstorming these things ahead of time can make a scene much more intense. Then surrounding these three elements you can brainstorm objects and senses that will effect Jake.
For example, in this case you could play up the size of the bully, add in the clock in the hallway ticking down time, maybe the bully likes the same girl, if he gets another tardy he will have detention, etc.
What do you do to help you get started with a new scene?
Often we stare at a blank page because we are trying to think up new ideas, but with this simple brainstorming activity with goals, stakes, and obstacles we have found the framework for the scene. Then all the added details to support those elements bring the scene to life.
Idea Sparking – Brainstorming the Conflict In Your Novel
Release Date September, 2012
Romantic Suspense Author
Fisher Creek Collection
Michelle Lim is the author of the new book Idea Sparking: How to Brainstorm Conflict in Your Novel. Also a romantic suspense author whose manuscripts have earned recognition in The Rattler Contest 2012, the Genesis Contest 2011, and the Frasier Contest in 2010. Michelle is the Brainstorm/Huddle Coach at My Book Therapy and serves as Vice President of MN N.I.C.E., a local chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. Check out her blog at: http://thoughtsonplot.wordpress.com/ and to purchase Idea Sparking:How to Brainstorm Conflict in Your Novel