Star bursting is a form of brainstorming done by taking a topic and generating questions. Write the questions you want to generate on the points of a six-point star. They are Who? What? Where? How? When and Why? That’s the gist of the idea.
To do it, you take a piece of paper and draw a six-point star on it. Then you write the six questions on each point. Once you have that done, you can begin the actual brainstorming. Look at each point of the star and it’s question. Then compose as many questions on the chosen topic that you can using the question, for example, why. Once you have gotten all the why questions you can think of, move on to the next question and do the same thing. Do that for each point of the star.
Of course, you don’t need the six-pointed star. You can use a word processing document with a page for each question. Then list the ones you come up with for each question.
This is a good technique to brainstorm when you already have a topic. It wouldn’t generate ideas well, so this is for broad topics that you want to explore. For example, the topic of brainstorming.
Who can do it? Who can use it? Who can profit by it?
What is it? What do you have to do? What results can you expect? What are the benefits of brainstorming? What methods are there? What can happen if you don’t do it?
Where can you do brainstorming? Where can you use brainstorming? Where can brainstorming take you?
How do you brainstorm? How do you choose your method? How many methods are there? How do you profit by it? How long can you do it?
When should you brainstorm? When should you do it? When can you do it? When should you stop?
Why do it? Why do you need it? Why is it effective? Why it can fail?
That’s my list of questions for each point of the star. Yours may be different. That’s the beauty of this type of brainstorming. It can help you break down a large topic into smaller, more manageable one. It can also help you decide where your story is going, to bring it back to a writer’s viewpoint.
There is one thing to keep in mind while doing a star burst brainstorming. Don’t worry about answering the question. That’s for after the brainstorming session. While you are doing an active brain storming, you only come up with the questions.
Those questions will lead you to the solution of the problem you are trying to solve. They will show you the path your story should take. This is a great method to use when your story stops in the middle of a scene. Use the method on the scene, generate the questions, and see where the answers take your story. It’s as easy a method as you could ask for.
So the next time you are stuck in a story, consider star bursting as a way to find out where your story is going. Good luck and keep writing.