NaNo Prep #1- Brainstorming

I’m starting my brainstorming a little late for NaNoWriMo this year. (Better late than never, right?)

Many of your have notebooks, or documents on your computer full of ideas. I’m not so lucky. I have a couple of ideas of novels that I started to explore for previous NaNoWriMos and then halfway through the month, I dropped them, never to pick them up again. I’m not even considering revisiting one of these stories. Last year I found that a fresh idea is what I needed to push myself forward.

Now the problem is, what do I write?

At this point, I have a handful of very basic, not well developed ideas– depressing, huh? Now I have to choose which idea to go with by brainstorming up some details and choosing the one that makes me the most excited.

Usually I just list details, but this year I’m trying to stay more organized by making a word-web, or using something similar to the snowflake method to come up with a very basic plot and maybe one or two big events or twists that I may or may not work in. I like to have something as a starting point.

Or maybe a free-write or writing prompt will awaken my Muse?

Here are some Brainstorming resources I found while browsing the inter-webs.

8 Brainstroming Strategies for Generating New Writing Ideas

50 Brainstorming Questions

^ I will be checking out the above link to help me, that’s for sure!

No Plot? No Problem!: 3 Things to Keep In Mind While Brainstorming

I really need to pick up a copy of No Plot? No Problem! — I borrowed it from a friend last year and only had it for a limited time, but it was so helpful!


How do you brainstorm for NaNoWriMo?

Do you have any resources you use to help you? If you’re a pantser, do you brainstorm for story ideas?

19 thoughts on “NaNo Prep #1- Brainstorming

  1. bookgeeking says:

    I have decided not to wait for nanowrimo this year. I am writing when I can. I had an idea for a prologue for months but never got anywhere so I shelved it. Suddenly one day I thought of a plot so I picked up a pen and began. I know how it starts and ends just hoping I figure out the middle as I go. Good luck with your idea 🙂

      • bookgeeking says:

        I am not sure yet, I am currently writing by hand rather than on the computer, so I do not know how much I am writing each day. I will eventually type it up but not sure if I will be ready by November.

  2. Anna says:

    I don’t have any outlines or solid plans for a story for NaNoWriMo, either. Haha. Thanks for the links. I will definitely check them out. Looks like you’ll be having fun with writing this November! All these preparations make it so exciting! 🙂

  3. alexinbookland says:

    Thanks for the links! I should technically have billions on stories ready to write because I jot down scenes and characters and plots in notebooks and my excel file all the time but like I looked over ALL of them this past week, looking for one to catch my eye and it was either a case of ‘it’ll work as a short story but not as a novel’ or ‘I’m just not in the mood to write SF or romance or attempt steampunk right now’ so I’ve been rather stuck but some did stand out and I’m currently trying to sit down and get a jist of how it could pan out into a story… I’m going slow but stories are forming for me – thank god! But need to start narrowing down to one story now too…
    There’s also the brainstorming system that Brandon Sanderson does which is I think four columns; first is ‘Places (preferrably ones that are unique or don’t normally turn up in novels, be it a location, a time period etc.)’, Second is; ‘Magic Systems/SF Gadgets’. Third is; ‘Conflict/Problem’. Fourth is; ‘Characters (so simple things like ‘Male, 55’). And then you write all the ideas you can think of in each column. Once that’s done, try and come up with 100 ideas that you could use by mixing and matching one/two from each column. It’s a rather fun exercise to do too xD
    I’ve added a 5th column which is like what type of character they are so ‘Hero, Princess, Good turns Bad, Bad turns Good, Wizard, Spy’ and so on.

    • amandasnoseinabook says:

      Oh what a great way to brainstorm. I am totally going to try this today, to see if either of the ideas I’m currently stuck between will work! (Adding your 5th column too, because I want to make sure I have some compelling characters!)

      I’m glad that stories are forming for you. They are kind of starting to come together for me. It would help if I could stop thinking about the novel that I wrote last year. I’m taking a break from revisions to do NaNoWriMo this year!

  4. hotteaandagoodbook says:

    I’m still trying to decide if I’m going to participate this year. I’ve taken on an editing job and have a deadline of the end of November. Not sure If I can take on both. If I get ahead in my editing, I may try finishing my current wip. Yes, I know the rules, but I’m going to play with my own rules this year if I play at all.

  5. dianatierney3 says:

    I am so excited. I came up with an idea last night with a plot that has been developing ever since. I have to outline it and do some research. I am actually pretty excited now to get going. My only problem is that I will be at a convention on the first 2 days of November so I will be starting at a deficit. Any tips on that?

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