Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Brainstorming for Writers—Use Social Media to Get Unstuck

by Lynette Eason @LynetteEason

So…what do you think about brainstorming? Do you do it? Do you enjoy it? Or are you afraid someone will steal your story idea? Or do you simply prefer working alone?

I have to say I’m a mixture. LOL. I love to work alone most of the time, but there are brief moments when I come out of my writing “cave” and love to brainstorm. The problem is I’m much better at brainstorming someone else’s story than I am my own. LOL. I don’t usually get “Writers block”, but sometimes when I’m first fleshing out a story, I love to get a bunch of ideas and thoughts to wade through.
Recently I sent out a plea er…call for help on my Facebook page. Here’s part of the post:

“A couple of you asked about characters and how I get my ideas. This particular post is about allowing you, the readers, to help me write my next book. Now, I'm not going to give away any spoilers or anything like that, but thought I would ask for your input. I've given a short synopsis of the main character and have asked a few questions at the end of the post I'd love for you to answer if you feel so inclined and have the time. Depending on the response, I may do a part 2. Thanks to you all! I'll be checking in at the blog to see your responses.”

Here were some responses:

“Olivia is independent because her dad left her
 mom when she was in high school. Her mother
 had to get a job and stretch finances to make ends meet. Her only brother joined the army and is stationed overseas. Her mom died the year that she graduated from college. So lots of changes in her life, too fast. Olivia doesn’t want to be close to anyone so she doesn’t get hurt again.”

“I’m thinking that maybe she was an FBI Agent, perhaps maybe in the prologue there could be a scene where Olivia is in the middle of a firefight and either a victim or a fellow agent somehow ends up in the crossfire are killed, and it’s later determined that the bullets came from Olivia’s gun and even though OPR clears her and deems the shooting accidental, she quits the FBI because she just can’t get past it. And maybe she sees being a bodyguard-willing to take a bullet for someone-as penance for and a way to emotionally deal with her past. I’m also thinking that she might have a few siblings and she might be the youngest and if so she’s probably pretty spunky. Oh, and if she has older siblings that have kids perhaps her niece or nephew had been kidnapped or something and that was who got caught in the crossfire!”

Me again here:
The yellow highlighted part is mine. That one sentence gave me a whole lot of backstory for my character. It sparked ideas and scenes and conflict. Yes, all that from just one little sentence. You may ask why I posted TWO of the brainstorming responses. Great question. I posted that because I wanted to show you that sometimes you might get a lot of GREAT ideas, but you might only use a snippet of it. And from that little snippet, you can develop characters and start to plot your story. That’s a huge thing for me and I love it when it happens!

How about you? Do you have someone you brainstorm with? A group you can send something out to and yell, “Help!”?

If not, I highly recommend it, but that’s just me. What are your thoughts on brainstorming? Positives? Negatives?

Don't forget to join the conversation!


Lynette Eason is the best selling, award winning author of the Women of Justice Series and the Deadly Reunions series. Since 2007, she has written/contracted thirty-six books. Currently, she writes for Revell and Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line. Her books have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists. She has won several awards including the 2013 Carol Award for WHEN A HEART STOPS. Lynette teaches at writing conferences all over the country. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Lynette can be found online at and and @lynetteeason on Twitter.


  1. I love to brainstorm! It's one of my favorite things to do. Years ago, when I wrote scripts to illustrate my pastor's sermons, we'd brainstorm. He taught me to never throw anything out as "silly" but to toss it all up for consideration. What happened is one idea led to another until we found exactly what we needed. I use the same approach to brainstorming.

  2. Where would we writers be without brainstorming, taking our characters beyond the what-if level to where they've never been before?

    1. And DiAnn is one of the best brainstormers EVER! Thank you my friend. :)

  3. I have a brainstorming partner with whom I share ideas via email. I've never thought of brainstorming via social media. What a neat idea!

    1. It really works. And while I didn't have a ton of responses, the few I got were great!

  4. Brainstorming is one of my favorites!! I love the Facebook/social media idea! So fun!


  5. I regularly meet with my writer friends to discuss and brainstorm. It's really good to be able to throw things in the ring, and see what comes up.
    Lorraine H

  6. I love to brainstorm! Do you think it's a benefit or drawback to brainstorm only with those in your own genre?

    Thanks for sharing your insights, Lynette. I vote for a part 2. :)

    1. LOL Part 2?? I'd have to brainstorm that with someone!

      And I don't think it's a drawback at all. I think it's very helpful. At least for me it is. When I brainstorm out of my genre then try to get back to my WIP, it's sometimes hard for me to make sure I'm back in my voice too. Not always, just sometimes. :)

  7. I'm like you in that I find it easier to brainstorm someone else's story than my own. But I love you FB idea.