Brainstorming, Plotting, and the Structured Chaos That Is Writing

currently playing on my laptop: River by Leon Bridges

Helloooo people who might want to peek into another writer’s arsenal and new writers just boarding the rollercoaster that is publishing! How is that maddening December going? Not great? Well, that’s probably okay because everyone is busy doing all the holiday things anyway. So keep this lil post in your virtual pocket for January.

I’ll keep this simple and throw my favorite brainstorming, plotting, and story shaping tools  at you for your use.



I still use Pinterest. If I have a location/historical period in mind for setting, Pinterest gives me so much to go on and it’s just so easy to pin and keep it in one place. I also like to type in the story’s possible theme or gut or a thing you often see in the story. For example, search Fear Art. Yeah, you see now?

Music also lends itself to brainstorming. If there is a song that cuts you at the knees, listen to it and sketch or free write. Backstory tends to sneak up on me through song. It’s a beautiful surprise.



I love to start with John Truby’s ANATOMY OF A STORY. The wise Courtney C. Stevens (FAKING NORMAL, THE BLUE-HAIRED BOYTHE LIES ABOUT TRUTH) introduced me to this tome and I keep it at my bedside. Plot grows from character and even if you only wade into the first third of ANATOMY, you will find some serious seeds. *the 22 steps deal is the stuff too

Blake Snyder‘s Beat Sheets are fantabulous, especially if you have a spreadsheet version. It’s basically a list of whenwhatshouldhappens and it gives you the pacing by word count. Such a nice tool that you can push and pull as you wish.

Story Shaping:


Okay, I cannot draw. Like AT ALL. But I do sketch as I write because I want each character fully formed in my head and I need to see the desert, tent, palace, forest, sea, island, tower.  

Also, I like to use highlighters and do the whole Margie Lawson thing. It helps with where backstory should sit and where I need to pluck and pick at dialogue and setting detail. 

Okay, hope that gives you something to look into! Now, go have a fun rest of the year and save the work for January, you little workaholic!



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1 Response to Brainstorming, Plotting, and the Structured Chaos That Is Writing

  1. Pingback: Setting goals and reaching them late… one way or another | Write on the World

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