Thursday, April 28, 2011

Storms on the Brain

Some days, it occurs to me how apropos the word 'brainstorming' is. According to Merriam-Webster's dictionary, a storm is "1. a serious disturbance of any element of nature", "2. a disturbed or agitated state", and "3. a sudden heavy influx or onset". I don't know about you, but I'd say those definitions describe the process of plotting and planning quite well!

A story idea usually starts with a kernel -- it may be a character, or a scene, even as little as a line of dialogue. It's just a little butterfly flapping its wings, unaware of the potential hurricane its created.

Soon, you find yourself thinking more and more about this idea. It's a sudden heavy influx of creative possibility. You start to flesh out the characters in your head. Sometimes you get tripped up by potential plot holes. Other times, you want to pat yourself on the back for coming up with such a brilliant plot twist. This, you think, could be The One. The perfect idea for the perfect book. The next bestseller. And the anticipation becomes electric.

But it's not always so easy. Brainstorming can be difficult in a world where the adage 'there's nothing new under the sun' seems so true. This is where that agitated state comes in. Sometimes it's a real struggle to decide, what happens next?

Sometimes, the storms bring anxiety and self-doubt. They rain on your parade. They can dampen your enthusiasm. But, like any storm, the sun will always come out, in the end. Always.

We just have to weather the tempest until then.

The life of a writer -- or any artist, for that matter -- is one that is characterized by these creative 'storms'. We grapple with thoughts, ideas, possibilities on a near constant basis and the result is often memorable characters and stories. In the wake of sleepless nights, tossing and turning over plot, beauty blooms from the blank pages like a flower after a downpour. And makes it all worth it.

I myself am in one of these brain-storms right now, planning for a novel I intend on writing in May. So far, it's been both a challenge and a pleasure. But every now and again I get discouraged and have to remind myself that it's not the end of the world whenever I hit a block or hiccup. It's just part of the process.

I'm in the eye of the storm, and I say, bring it on!


  1. Aww, yess I agree - it really is a stormy and tempestuous life. I've had a couple of sleepless nights too because of storywriting - especially once when I made a "trailer" out of seperate clips for one of my stories. It was just so exciting (to visualize my story for the first time) so it was tiring but worth it.
    Beautiful entry :) I like the photos too

  2. Maybelle - Ooh! I love making fan trailers for stories and characters! I tend to base character appearances off of actors/actresses; being able to visualize them so clearly helps with description, at times.

    Glad you enjoyed the entry! =)

  3. Very good article, maybe that's the backdrop for your next book?! Writers do write about people and people are writers.