Benefits of Brainstorming

NaNoWriMo 2009 Update

Some people say that they don’t write with an outline. I get that. It was great fun letting my characters meet new characters, and watching them evolve. However, I’m learning what I can and cannot do regarding leaving them their own devices.

In short order I’ve managed to get a good bit behind in my writing. However, I have good reason. I needed to go back and do some mapping. It turns out that these characters with lives and personalities still need some guidance. Especially if I’m going to get them to the point of fulfilling my ideas.

Even if it turns out that the story ends up someplace different from my idea, I still need the frame to work in. If a story line more plausible than mine presents itself, then I’ll just be grateful.


To further my novel before getting hopeless behind, a few days ago, I worked up a frame to give me the structure I needed. It includes things that I’d never thought of before, and possibly over-thought for this. We’ll see.

My brainstorming yielded:

  • a time line
  • calendar of events
  • useful characters to make sense of the plot
  • details to flesh out the story

Benefits of brainstorming at this point:

  • I see events to develop and characters to make it happen
  • Knowing what events and activities may be left out
  • Confidence to go forward because I know what forward is

Everything is fluid and therefore negotiable. This novel writing is an interesting experience. At just over 10,000 words now, this is the farthest I’ve ever gone in writing a novel. And even unedited, this is exciting and satisfying.

Still, I thought of things that I want to change and am really fighting not to go back and change them. I’ve made notes of what to change and if I finish early, then I’ll go back to revise. Otherwise, I’ll leave the notes for revision time, starting December 2009.

So, this is my update for now. I still have a few thousand words to write this afternoon. And I’ll likely be writing into the night because family is coming over soon. But, since I’m still having a blast, it’s my pleasure to keep going—to learn what comes next.

Are you having as much fun as me? Learning new things about how novel writing works for you? I invite you to share, leave a comment.

About Shari Smothers

Welcome to Telling Stories, my creative writing space. My name is Shari Smothers. Poems help me to understand the world and to explain my world to others. They're my premier story telling tools. There's more to come, so please share with me through reading, commenting, emailing. Learn more about Shari here. And do come again!

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