The Brainstorming Technique of SWOT

Swot stands for strength, weakness, opportunity and threat. This method lets you find the strengths, weakness and problems for a particular idea, or scene. This is a good thing to do when you aren’t sure why a particular scene isn’t working.

There are examples online but the method is simple enough. You divide a page into quarters. Then write down all the strengths you can think of. Follow that with all the weaknesses. Following that you list all the opportunities that can arise from the action. Then list all the threats, or things that can go wrong. This is the way you analyze problems or troublsome scenes.

That’s the whole technique. I would put a single sentence that summarizes the scene at the top of the page. Then add the divisions with the strengths in the upper left, weaknesses in the upper right. Put the opportunities in the lower left and the threats in the lower right.

The strengths are the parts that work. If you’ve already written a scene and it isn’t working. Find the bits that work and write them here. This separates them out and lets you add in other ideas that might work better.

The weaknesses are the parts that don’t work as well. Find those in scenes you have written and put those under this section.

The opportunities are the ways the scene could go that work. Put any ideas you think might work for the scene in this place.

The threats are things that keep the scene from working. Think of things that could go wrong. Think of the things that could make life harder for your characters. Put them here.

Then you look at the items in your SWOT chart and determine what may or may not work in the scene. Then rewrite the scene incorporating the ideas. I don’t guarantee that this technique will work for you, but give it a try and see what happens.

Now, if you are in the planning stage of a work, you can use this to create a scene. It lets you work out the action and the results of a scene. Then you can add in the descriptions and other little bits that flesh out the story. It’s a good way to let your reader ‘see’ the action.

The strengths section should contain a list the actions your characters should do. They will get the characters to the story goal. In the weaknesses section is where you put the impediments to their project. The opportunities section should contain ideas the character might try. These are the things that might not work for them as well as they think. The threats should increase the problems the characters encounter.

This is a good method to use when plotting a story of any length. This method can help you determine the best way to torture your characters and tell your story. Give it a try. You might find you like using it. Even if it doesn’t spark your imagination, it can give you more ideas to try.


I am not one who is comfortable talking about myself but here goes. I enjoy writing, family history, and reading. I decided to do this blog because I wanted to try something new. I decided to make it a weekly blog because I wasn't sure that I could keep up with a daily one, and monthly seemed like I was writing a magazine. I think I did ok with my choices. You'll notice that there are not a lot of graphics on my site. That's because there are graphics plastered everywhere on the Internet and those sites sometimes take forever to load. This blog is a place where you can kick back, relax and be ready to be amused. At least I hope I willbamuse you. This blog is on a variety of subjects from my ficitional cat agency, the FFL, which is monthly, to instructional blogs to editorials, which are my opinions only. I admit that I don't know everything and could be wrong -- I frequently am. Now, stop reading about me and read what I have to say!

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© Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den, 2010-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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