Most writers run into roadblocks at one time or another, something that keeps their story from moving forward. It may be as simple as trying to come up with a name that's true to the story's era and a character's nature, or it could be more complex, say, a major plot twist that isn't playing out well. At such times, we send out frantic S.O.S. for a little help from our writerly friends. Observing a few simple guidelines can make our idea sessions more productive.
Rule One: PRAY! Ask the Lord to make your brainstorming fruitful. Also ask Him to give you wisdom to recognize the best choice from many.
Rule Two: BE SPECIFIC about
your purpose for brainstorming. Clearly articulate what your need is.
If the group starts chasing rabbits, tactfully draw them back to task.
Rule Three: ACCEPT ALL IDEAS AS BEING EQUAL--yours
and others'--no matter how random, wild, far-fetched, bizarre, awkward,
or exaggerated, without judging them. No put-downs, rolled eyes, or
Rule Four: ENCOURAGE PIGGYBACKING! Let one person's idea spark another possible solution. And another. And another. Etc.!
Rule Five: UNDERSTAND
that as a member of the brainstorming team, once you voice an idea, you
relinquish ownership of it. Ideas cannot be copyrighted. You've
essentially given it to your friend who sought your help.
Rule Six: In light of Guideline Five, BE COURTEOUS. Someone
asked for your help, and you agreed to participate. If your idea turns
out to be the accepted solution, congratulations! It is considered
rude--not illegal, but definitely rude--to snatch back an idea you've
tossed into the brainstorming ring and use it yourself in your own
writing. If you really want to use it (in a different way), meet
privately with the person for whom you were brainstorming, explain your
plan, and ask her permission. Once again The Golden Rule rules!
Brainstorming is a pleasurable, productive way to solve problems with your fellow scribes. Keep it friendly and . . .
Because of Jesus,