Brainstorming Fiction | Nia Hogan | Skillshare

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Brainstorming Fiction

teacher avatar Nia Hogan, Storyteller

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      What is Brainstorming?


    • 3.

      Brainstorming Exercises


    • 4.

      Tips and Best Practices for Brainstorming


    • 5.



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About This Class

Need suggestions for how to create your next storyline? This course will cover methods of solo brainstorming, brainstorming exercises, and tips and best practices to help you create your next story idea. There is story fabric all around you. This course will help you generate concrete ideas that you can use to move forward with outlining your next fiction piece.

Meet Your Teacher

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Nia Hogan



I'm a multi-published author, educator, and your facilitator.

I'm a New Jersey native, but Florida has been my home for over 20 years. I earned my MFA in Creative Writing for Entertainment from Full Sail University and am also a Master of Education. I have self-published 4 novels and 1 craft book and produce resources for writers.

Writing has always been my passion but I've been in the business for almost 10 years. Between ghostwriting novels, to creating copy for small businesses, I've helped many writers to develop their craft over the years.

When I'm not writing, I'm looking for new content to create or curled up with a good book.

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hello and welcome to brainstorming for Fiction. My name is Nia Hogan and I'm a multi published in the author. When I'm writing my own books, I'm helping writers who are struggling with the same things I faced as a new writer in the field. Creating store ideas is something I'd love to do since I learned to read. Turning those brainstorms into solid story ideas took years to master. If you'd like me, you keep notebooks and files full of story fabric. But not every talented writer is spilling with fresh or usable ideas. This course is for beginner writers and writers who wants suggestions to help them create their next story idea. Not writers with an abundance of them. This course will cover what brainstorming is. Brainstorming exercises that you can do, tips and best practices. And how to turn your story ideas into tangible outline 2. What is Brainstorming?: Without further ado, let's begin with the first lecture. What is brainstorming? Brainstorming is often seen as a group activity. It's a Creative technique that allows small groups and teams to conclude about a problem or generate new ideas. Well, you can certainly brainstorm your next story idea with the group. Brainstorming can also be done alone. Brainstorming is spontaneous. Idea should flow freely without a set structure. The idea is to come up with as many ideas as possible. There may be some parameters to the brainstorm, but the idea is to create a safe space for your ideas. I've combined a list of solo brainstorming methods that we'll dive into in the next lecture. Reverse brainstorming, stop and go. Brainstorming, brainwriting, verbal brainstorming, brain dumps, storyboarding, mind-mapping, star bursting, swat analysis, and wishing. In this lecture, I explained what brainstorming is. M provided a list of brainstorming techniques that you can do alone. 3. Brainstorming Exercises: Next up, brainstorming Exercises. How you brainstorm is ultimately up to you. The reason this lecture focuses on solo brainstorming methods is because most new writers do not copyright. They like to write the first draft themselves and maybe get help on how to improve their story. In this lecture, we will cover some brainstorming methods that you can do without a team. First is reversed brainstorming. This is a technique where you start with a problem, make a list of potential conflicts. For example, a car jacking with a baby in the backseat of viral outbreak, this spreading quickly across the country or a prize-winning pups stuck in a burning house. Once you have a list of problems, start creating a list of solutions. You can create a graphic organizer or just create a list. Don't think too deeply into the logistics. Just think what could happen to solve this problem if nothing else stood in the way. Next is stop and go Brainstorming. You brainstorm or idea dump for 10 min. Stop. Evaluate what you've written and take note on your favorite parts. Then you repeat the process until you're out of ideas. If you're someone who needs to chunk information into smaller time limits in this process may prove beneficial to you. Third is brainwriting, where you brainstorm ideas, then share them out to get feedback. Whenever I get a new story idea, I tell people like my husband, for example, and he often ask me questions or make suggestions that helped me to clarify my ideas forth. You could try verbal brainstorming. When working alone, you can start a voice memo or record yourself speaking. I do this a lot when I'm driving and can't stop to write down my ideas. Playing the audio back can help you to transcribe them later, or you can just decide to keep them as Audio reminders of what you'd like to write about. If you're better at expressing yourself orally, this can help you to quickly collect new ideas. Next up is the brain dumb? This is where you just sit down without parameters of any kind and let your ideas freely flow out of you. There are no time limits, topics in mind, any structure for recording or collaborating needed. You're just letting go of whatever ideas are at the top of your head. Sixth is storyboarding. This is for writers with an existing story idea that wants to brainstorm some of the key plot points to carry their story. Traditionally, this would be done with sticky notes so that you can order and reorder your scene ideas. Here you are just brainstorming ideas of what could happen and then putting them in a logical order. If you have gaps that need filling, you can add blank sticky notes in there as well, so that you can add those ideas later. Mind-mapping is very similar to reverse brainstorming. But here you start with a theme or a central question for your story. For example, if your theme is beauty, lies, and simplicity, you'd write down a list of ways or story ideas that could demonstrate this theme. For example, tech gurus steps down as CEO to live in a beach town and focus on finding himself after the passing of his fiance or spoiled high-school graduate learns her parents gambled away her college fund and decides to live off the grid during her gap year to figure out what she's truly passionate about. Another way of mind mapping is to start with a question. Can people truly be happy alone? Then consider different scenarios that could answer that question through story ideas. For example, widowed mother of nine sends her youngest child off to college and begins the next chapter of her life or co-dependent entertainer is sent to an isolated rehab facility and struggles to build connections with other residents. The next exercise is star bursting. This is where you create a six-pointed star and label each point. Who, what, when, where, why, and how. In the center of the star you can put anything from a conflict, a call to action, or a Story topic and answer the questions. I'll use call to action. For example, will she take the throne? Who? Isabella, what? Takeover the throne when after Queen Nora's burial ceremonies or complete, where Mugabe, which is a made-up story world. Why she is the next girl in line for the throne. How she must leave behind everything she's ever known to rule this part of her country, that our parents laughed when she was a baby. You're probably familiar with swat analysis for business. But this works for Fiction to SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This works great for Brainstorming characters. Create four quadrants and consider the following. What are their strengths and weaknesses? What opportunities could they have that are important to their storyline and what threats are hurdles in their journey. Lastly, is the wishing exercise. This works great if you're writing genres that include elements that cannot happen in the real-world. This can allow you to think outside the box and think beyond the limitations of the real-world. You can dream up anything in a perfect world that you create. This brainstorming exercise can allow you to stretch your brain. If you're looking for a way to challenge yourself as well. 4. Tips and Best Practices for Brainstorming: Hopefully you found one or all of those brainstorming exercise is beneficial to your planning process. In this next lecture, I will share some tips and best practices to conquering the brainstorming process. Here are six tips and best practices for solo brainstorming. Number one, start with a warm-up. Our brains are tools and just like we warm up our engines in the winter and pre-heat our stoves. It's a good idea to warm up your brain as well. This warm-up can be a free write, your reading over ideas you brainstormed in the past, or even using a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing. Number to create a goal. If creating good writing habits is important to you, creating a goal for your brainstorming session may help you out rightly. Maybe set a time limit. I will brainstormed for 10 min today, or I will be done brainstorming when I create ten new ideas. Goal-setting helps us keep track and removes our excuses. Number three, focus on depth and variety of ideas. When I say depth, maybe this brainstorm session is taking ideas from a previous session and asking yourself, how can I go deeper with this idea? When it comes to variety? I mean, don't limit yourself to Brainstorming one type of idea. If your brainstormed takes you into multiple genres, time periods, and across many topics, that's okay. Number four, find inspiration around you. There is story fabric everywhere. Your life could even serve as the topic for your next brainstorm. Maybe you watched a show or a movie that sparked a new idea. I also highly encouraged eavesdropping. Gossip can provide rich content for your next brainstorm session. The more you read, the more ideas that will come to you. Number five, if you enjoy sharing your new ideas, encourage positive feedback only. Of course, it's important to get honest critiques on your writing. But remember that these are just story seeds. They haven't grown or developed into anything yet. If someone doesn't like a story idea, they don't have to say anything about it at all. This will keep you encouraged and find out what your strongest ideas are. Number six, remember that there's no such thing as bad ideas. You may not be able to use every single idea that you brainstormed for a short story or a Novel. But remember that ideas can grow just like seeds into something beautiful. With time, patience and a revisit. Don't be afraid to write something down because it doesn't seem right in the moment. In my course Outlining Fiction for beginners, I go into detail about the process of Outlining and even provide a free resource to complete a complete Fiction outline. If you're looking for more guidance in that area, feel free to enroll in that course as well. For now, let's focus on how to take a brainstorming session and turn it into an outline. First, if you used a brainstorming activities such as stop and go, brainwriting, verbal brain dumping, or wishing. Take your list and rank your story ideas from favorite to least. If you used reverse brainstorming, storyboarding, mind-mapping, star bursting, or swat analysis. You'll work with that idea that you've already began developing. Next, it's time to consider the following elements of fiction. Premise, which is your stories logline, theme. What is the message or takeaway for your reader? Setting? What are the major places your characters will navigate? Protagonist, who is your lead character and antagonist? What is the opposing force or character working against the protagonist? Main conflict. So what are the main conflicts your protagonist faces? The beginning, what are major opening plot points and the main problem of the story, the middle. What are the major middle plot points and the climax, the ending. What are major end plot points and the problems resolution? Once you're able to determine these things, you can either consider a more in-depth Outlining option to help you better understand what you want your story to look like. Or you can use this as a loose guide to begin writing. The choice is really up to you. In this section, we covered ways to turn your brainstormed ideas into a tangible outline to begin your writing process. I hope you found this inside helpful 5. Conclusion: In this course, you learned what brainstorming is. Brainstorming exercises you can do tips and Best Practices for Brainstorming and how to turn your story ideas into tangible outlines. My hope is that you feel more confident about your ideas and how to express yourself in a way that it's helpful to your thought process and style of expressing yourself. Your ideas are valid and I don't want another day to pass where you sit on Golden ideas that could potentially be a bestseller. If you enjoyed this course and found the information included helpful, please leave a positive review to help future students find the value in it. If you have any private questions or concerns that you don't want to leave in the discussion section of this class. Feel free to e-mail me at Novel Writing for