A brainstorm session is a good tool to generate ideas to write about. It can also be used to solve problems. In the case of fiction writers, it can also be used to generate problems for characters to get into. That’s why they are important when starting a writing project. You can generate the idea for the story, then the problems in the story and follow that with the solutions to the problems.
That sounds easy. It is and yet it isn’t. There are rules to follow when brainstorming. The first is to reserve judgments. Just get the ideas out there. The second is to think freely. Write your ideas down, no matter how silly they may seem. Don’t limit yourself to just one or two. Write as many as you can think of. You may want to set a timer and go for it. The last one is the trickiest. It is that many heads are better than one. What that means is that problems are more easily solved if there are more people working on it. For authors, that sometimes is hard. There are methods around it, however.
So, if you are stuck on what to write, set a timer and start generating ideas. If you need problems for your characters to encounter, set a timer and write down problems you think would cause your characters grief. Then set it again and do the same thing, but in terms of what your character would least want to happen. If you can do it as the character, you will get a better idea of what to put down. Do that for each character. Then sit your characters down and have them brainstorm solutions to your chosen problems. You might surprise yourself. As for the last rule of brainstorming, if you have a few friends, you can get them together and help as well, but I think the idea of having your characters do some brainstorming to solve their problems will help you know them better as well as getting solutions they might actually come up with. It’s a stretch of imagination, but that can only be good. You might find it exhilarating. You might not. Either way, you will find yourself learning something. That can only be good.
Brainstorming is an excellent tool in your writing toolbox and it isn’t just for idea generation. You can use it to generate plot twists and story tensions. Write a scene where your characters are facing a problem and have them do some brainstorming to solve it. I think you will like how it all turns out. So go ahead and brainstorm your story ideas, plot twists and problems. You’ll like the tool.