Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Something to Chat About

Yesterday my critique group had an online brainstorming session. We used Yahoo Messenger and took turns “talking” about our stories, coming up with plot points, and turning our ideas inside out. It was a free for all, no holds barred, conjuring outside of the box bash.

We like Yahoo Messenger because after each writer has her turn, she can copy and paste all the ideas (verbatim) into a Word document to use later.

There were three of us, but there are five in our group. Yesterday was great, and it’s fabulous when we all get together. One idea triggers another, bounces off another, takes off on another. Even when I’m brainstorming for someone else, ideas for my stories are also popping into my head. I’m sure it’s the same for the others in the group.

We used to meet once a week at a restaurant. Now, we stay home, sign on, and go for it. The internet is so convenient for this type of thing.

If you find yourself on the verge of writers block, or in the midst of a writing dilemma, have an online chat with a couple of writer friends and try trading ideas. You’ll be amazed at how many options you come up with in a short period of time. 


  1. I have this philosophy that I only have one brain -- no wait a minute -- and because of that I don't have the scope of ideas that are possible by using a few other brains. I love brainstorming in a group. My groups sets one rule: We state first the one thing that especially excites us about this story and that we won't budge regarding. So even if it's difficult to plat around, the others all hold that element sacred.

    Many times I've seen a group twist a person's story until it's no longer their story, and the excitement is lost. That's why we honor and guard the excitement element. No idea is too out there' there are no bad ideas. If the person doesn't like a suggestion, no matter how good it is, that's perfectly okay. You can tell when something resonates because the pen flies to get words down and a light comes on in that person's eyes. It's a real high.

    I am going to check out Yahoo Messenger. It sounds GREAT!

  2. Cheryl,

    I really like the idea of setting the "I'm really excited about . . . " rule. It's a great way to start a session with a buzz and a foundation.

    You are so right about stories getting twisted. I've seen that and felt it as well.

    If you try Yahoo Messenger, let me know. I'd be interested in your opinion.