Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Speaking of brainstorming, I bought a tiny iPod today. I plan to listen to the songs played during the time period of my new novel.

I think I have the title and the basic plot. It will be based on a trial I covered 20 years ago as a journalist. Fictional characters of course.

In writing this new novel, I've decided to take a different approach from what I've used in the past when I wrote Mardi Gravestone and Hurricane House. Both MG and HH are mysteries, and I'm thinking this book will be mystery/thriller, but to guide me in my new approach, I'm reading a book called First Draft in 30 Days.

Of course, this entire writing process begins with brainstorming.

I usually brainstorm in my head months prior to writing a book. Now, I'm thinking its time to make a soundtrack for my current project as this First Draft book says. My iPod is charging now.

I'll listen to the soundtrack while I'm driving. I drive quite a bit. The right music never fails to inspire, don't you agree?

I'll go shopping and buy something my main character would purchase. No problem as long as it doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

I'll continue to people watch.

Much of the research I have already done, but I'll cuts pictures from magazines and put them in a booklet so that I can look at the faces of my main characters while writing.

I'll continue to ask "what if" questions. This worked well with my first two books. Before I began Mardi Gravestone I saw a man fall from the back of a truck into the car behind. I asked, "What if that man fell into my car?

Before writing Hurricane House, I asked, "What if a hurricane hit a Florida fishing village with a murder at large?"

Another part of brainstorming is drifting off to sleep while thinking about my project.

And writing a bio on the main characters.

This First Draft book has a form: Character's name, age, race, eye color, hair color, build, skin tone, characteristic and mannerisms, personality traits and background. Then the outlining process begins.

Outlining is supposed to save time, provide continuity and allow me to write my polished novel faster.

We'll see.

If you're following along, let me know how you're doing.


  1. Sandy,

    I love to brainstorm a story. Sometimes I'll take a drive and have a conversation with my main character, see what she wants to tell me about her story. I'm not big on pre-writing prep in so far as outlines, etc. I'm a seat of the pantser all the way. But I have learned to write a brief description of each character just so I don't have to go back and look up things like eye color from chapter twenty to chapter one.


  2. Hi Linda,
    I tend to be a "seat of the pantser" myself, but I find I need to be put out of my editing misery once I've finished the manuscript. I thought this new method would allow be to have a more polished first draft.

    Also, wanted you to know, I've posted part of a short story called Death Caps on my blog.

    I'll finish the rest of it this weekend.

  3. My brainstorms seem to come as flash floods of sorts. It works out but then there is the dry spells.

  4. I think we all have the dry spells. It helps me to write anyway and not expect perfection. Remembering it's only the first draft helps and sometimes I outline my stories to spur my writing. That's helps me to know where I'm going and forces me to write something, even if it's not all that good in the beginning. Good luck, C.E.


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