Brainstorming Under Pressure

Over the past few days I’ve been taking advantage of one of the features of Quoll Writer to help me develop my ideas for my newest project.  You can choose to do a warm-up exercise and QW will provide you with a quote from a book as a prompt–or you can opt to create your own prompt instead.  At first, when I was getting to know QW during the falling-in-love stage, I thought to myself, “Why would I do that?”

But it’s an excellent brainstorming tool.  On Saturday, on a whim, I brought up the warm-up screen and thought, “I should really work out what this library looks like, so I can have a picture firmly lodged in my brain when I start actually writing.”  (This is for the Haunted Library idea I started in last week’s What If–I liked it so much I’m trying to make it work.  I have character notes and some scene ideas and hopefully soon I can string them together in something that could, possibly, be called an outline.)

I set the conditions for the exercise–500 words or 30 minutes, whichever came first–and let myself run wild describing the library, both in the physical and mystical sense.  Not everyone works well on a timer, but I’ve always loved doing word sprints, so trying to hit the word count goal before time was up got the words flowing.

I didn’t let myself stop typing for more than a few seconds, and I didn’t let myself edit.  (That was really hard, I can’t abide leaving obvious typos behind.)

Framing the brainstorming session as a timed exercise kept me from staring at a blank screen testing ideas out in my head without recording them.  Which is something I do plenty when I’m not staring at a screen–some of my best ideas hit me while I’m doing dishes, of all things.  I’ve been known to dry my hands off and jot something down on a scrap of paper before continuing to wash, then trying to remember to get that scrap of paper somewhere on my desk before it disappears.

Today I think I’ll brainstorm more quirks and powers for my characters to have.  I’ve got the main characters settled–I think–but everyone who works for this strange library is going to have something supernatural about them…


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