Generating Story Ideas: List and Twist

picture of twizzlers

These guys really know the List-and-Twist

Side Note: It’s March 3rd, the birthday of the notorious Ian Mayes and Myself! Huzzah!

John Brown, author of “Servant of a Dark God”, gave a presentation at LTUE with Larry Correia. It was entitled “How to Develop Killer Story Ideas”. In fact, if you go to his blog, there is a video recording of the presentation there. I’m the one with the big head and lots of hair, sitting in front of shiny bald guy, and next to guy with black cap. I also hold my arm up for a long time and never get called on (you can see my watch!). =P Not that getting called on mattered. I was just happy to be there.

John Brown talked about how creativity is a human thing. It isn’t single to a particular type of “creative” person. Creativity is what our brains do when we problem-solve. We get our brain to do this by asking questions.

“It’s not all smoking jackets and collie dogs.” (Tracy Hickman)

The next phase in this collaborative Blog-brainstorming session (Blogstorming session?) is what John Brown calls the “List and Twist”.

Prompt: Pick a Villain or Setting idea from the previous Brainstorming sessions and “Twist” it.

You do this by:

  1. Keeping your ‘Zing’ meter on
  2. Asking yourself questions about your choice

Here is the Villains Blogstorm

Here is the Settings Blogstorm

Note: You don’t have to stick with the ideas mentioned in the Blogstorms! This is a prompt, and the Brainstorming sessions are meant to get your brain working in a creative or “problem-solving” direction. If you begin to get new ideas while forming your response, see where it takes you! The prompt is just step one, not the destination.

Example Questions:

Villain: (If you choose this one, you will probably focus on making the villain more well-rounded and discovering him as a character) What is the villain’s motive? (Vague, like “To find true love”) Goal? (Specific: “To steal all the cookies in LA”) How do they use their job to their advantage? What makes this villain different from the typical librarian-psychopath?

Setting: (If you choose this one, you’ll probably focus on narrowing in the setting and discovering a plot, or a main character, within that setting) What would you not expect to see in this setting? Who is hurting most in this kind of a setting?

Looking forward to your responses!

One Response

  1. Remington on March 4, 2011 @ 12:41 am

    Setting-Dance Club

    Blood dripped on the ground as Mark bumped into a girl and coughed an apology, hastily moving past before she could make a scene. He clenched his side, forcing the wound closed as his shirt made a makeshift bandage.

    He blinked and squinted his eyes, trying to find the exit before they found him in the crowd. He had to call the cops, had to let them now about his sister before they got away.

    Rage filled him and pushed away the pain and sharpened his mind. They would not get away with his sister, he would kill them all before he let that happen.

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