I don’t spend much time brainstorming my stories. I start writing the outline or the working synopsis the moment I feel the need to do so. But, the story has been buzzing around in my mind for several weeks, maybe even months, taking shape and growing bigger. Its not like I get an idea in the morning and by afternoon I have decided that it will be my current WIP.
But, I have never spent time actually sitting down and brainstorming a story. I think it would be a wonderful idea if I do that. I feel that the Brainstorming can be split in 5 ways;
1. Protagonist. We can work on creating unique characters, perhaps giving them a distinct personality or traits, or even a quaint way of talking or a different way of dressing. Not just unusual but even individualistic and strong protagonists go a long way in helping stories. The protagonist can have unheard of hobbies ( like collecting lizard’s tails, wings of a butterfly) habits, interests, their choice of a career can be off the beaten track, they can have weird friends and fetishes, they can suffer from strange physical or psychological maladies, or they can have social inhibitions that prevent them from forging strong relationships and friendships.
2. Setting. An original and unusual setting will go far in interesting and hooking readers. There are several things we can add to settings: strange people, customs, habits, food, fauna and flora, rituals, way of talking and dressing, way of communicating. What has not been seen before will make for great hooks where settings are concerned.
3. Antagonist. The amount of attention we pay to the protagonist, atleast half the amount should be paid to the Antagonist, as he/she drives the conflict and provides tension. The antagonist should be given a literary makeover: he can be different from the antagonist haunting every other book. We should strive to create strong antagonists who are powerful enough to attract the reader’s eyeballs. We can give the antagonist plenty of qualities that will make him/her stand out: a sensory highlight where one of the senses is more powerful than the others, a cruel streak, a revengeful nature, a petty way of thinking or getting even, or a funny sense of humor. Maybe we can make them a megalomaniac or a kleptomaniac.
4. Conflict. This is where we have the reader caught and ensnared. A gripping conflict will ensure that a reader’s attention does not constantly waver. Conflicts requires a lot of effort. We can try and make them unique and add obstacles and problems like sadists. For a truly engaging conflict we have to get merciless.
5. Resolution. Happy Endings are extremely important to give readers a sense of redemption. We can twist this by making endings happy but unexpected: the protagonist has reached his or her destination in an extremely unstereotypical fashion. The reader should be literally taken not just by surprise but also be rendered a pleasant shock at the way the story has been resolved.