The Writing Magic of Brainstorming Scenes First
Brainstorm First, Organize Later
You can move them around as you add scenes, but don’t focus on this too much. The concept is to write down as many scenes as you can that will be part of your story.
The key to this process is that it is a brainstorming exercise. No judgment. If a scene comes to mind, add it to the list. You’ll organize them later.
Get your basic plot points. Here is novelist Kristen Kieffer‘s basic list.
• Exposition. The necessary character, setting, and background details readers need to understand the context of your novel. (Note: exposition is *not* the beginning of a novel, though most often exposition is revealed during the first few chapters in order to set the scene).
• Call-To-Action. The moment when the hero is called to leave the ordinary world to take part in an otherworldly adventure. Usually found in fantasy and science fiction novels.
• Rising Action. The series of events leading up to the climax of the story.
• Crises. Peaks in tension or conflict that occur throughout the rising action of the novel.
• Climax. The most intense crisis found in the narrative, though not necessarily the final crisis.
• Falling Action. The series of events after the climax of the story where questions are answered and any remaining crises occur and are resolved.
• Resolution. The final moments of a novel where any remaining threads of tension are resolved and a new reality is established.
What matters is that you choose your structure so you can start adding scenes.
Place Your Scenes in the Structure Format
Story Structure: The Container for Your Scenes
- You find you have scenes missing to complete the full story structure
- Scenes on your list don’t seem to fit in the story structure
Now it’s time to refine your structure. If important scenes are missing you can add them to complete the full cycle of your plot.
Take a look at those scenes that don’t fit in the story structure. If you don’t find a place for the scenes to move the story forward, it’s time to let them go.
Slideshow of Basics
Rewards of Brainstorming and Structure
The immense benefit of brainstorming the scenes is that you already know what happens. You don’t have to stall wondering what comes next. You’ve already envisioned the scene.
You’ll find that you can focus on writing, and that the writing will go swiftly.
The process also eliminates spending hours of writing only to find your story has led to a dead end or you’ve boxed yourself in. The scene process, saves hours of rewrite time from writing “freeform.”
You won’t get lost. You can write the scenes in any order as your mood strikes, but in the end you’ll complete your story without false starts or material that bogs down the story. Because you write more quickly, you’ll save time creating your entire story.
Zara Altair writes mysteries set in ancient Italy. Argolicus thinks he has retired, but he and his tutor, Nikolaos are drawn into puzzles, politics, and murder.
She consults with a select group of writers as The Story Bodyguard.