Even though Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven isn’t out yet, I’m in the midst of what most writers I know are doing all the time anyway: brainstorming for my next book.
It’s going to be a sequel to Moose Tracks 1, centering on a secondary character…one of Elena’s (the protagonist) sisters. This sister’s story is going to be really interesting for me to tell, because she happens to be a bona fide movie star.
So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and image-gathering, which I tend to do with any new book. For this protagonist so far in my mind, the images are all about the glamor, the paparazzi…and a pretty huge fall from grace.
I’m not completely sure what that’s going to look like yet, but I’m getting there.
Brainstorming for me comes in very visually. I actually see characters and scenes, sometimes, running like a movie in my mind. Once in a while I’ll hear snippets of dialog inside my head (yes, I know that sounds a little scary…but it’s really kind of thrilling when it happens).
I listen and brainstorm best when I’m driving. It’s a 30 minute commute each way for me, which is some good time for thinking; the driving itself takes up my external attention, so the thoughts come light and swiftly, since I can’t get too deep into them. I also like to brainstorm while I’m using the elliptical at the gym, though, and piping nice, loud music right into my brain. I have to be careful there though. If I get too engrossed in what I’m thinking, I forget what I’m doing, and I’ve almost taken a header off the equipment a couple times. 🙂
I’m a percolator. I need to think and think and stew and stew about a story idea for quite a long time before it feels “ready” to begin putting on paper. Different things can trigger ideas: songs, tv shows, a picture etc…it’s different all the time.
So that’s a little about my process. Any other writers out there that have brainstorming processes? What do you do to get the juices flowing?