Episode 04: The Story Brainstorming Workshop – Part One

Show Notes for Episode 04: The Story Brainstorming Workshop – Part One

Alone in a Room with Invisible People is a podcast focusing on topics related to writing, revising and publishing fiction.

PART ONE In this experimental episode, Author/Teacher Holly Lisle walks host and writer Rebecca Galardo through a brainstorming session.  Feel free to play along with free worksheets, downloadable immediately.  Just look below in the rest of the show notes.

Using these worksheets and working with the Muse (right brain) and Inner Critic (left brain), Holly and Rebecca create story fragments from scratch.

Download ALL of our worksheets on our Download Page.


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Mentioned in the Podcast




Producer – Rebecca Galardo.  Sponsor – Holly’sWritingClasses.com.  Intro written by Holly Lisle and performed by Mark Hermann.  Our podcast is 100% free and sponsored only by Holly’s Writing Classes.

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6 thoughts on “Episode 04: The Story Brainstorming Workshop – Part One”

  1. Been following y’all since day one and all the episodes have been enjoyable, I really enjoyed playing along in this episode. One thing I’d really like to see an example of is, rather than using these techniques for a new story, how could/would you use them for an established story with some elements that are already in place and everything in your love, hate, fear, desire arsenal can’t be at your disposal?

    I hope you keep going with this podcast.

    1. Established story as in published and you want to expand? Or established as in you’ve started writing? And what would your end goal be? More plots, more conflict, adding a character, adding motivations, adding other stories (if the first was published already) etc.?

      The simple answer is “you have to ask yourself questions” in place of the simple bubbles (LOVE, HATE, etc).

      If you need more information, narrow down this scenario into something more concrete – possibly using yourself and a story as an example – and this might be something we can cover at a future point in a mini-episode. But what you are looking to see an example of would have to be clearer, otherwise you can “see” us reference this brainstorming technique in another future episode we’ll already be doing on Getting Unstuck.

      1. Established as in one you are working on, but that is unfinished. Perhaps you’ll cover it in the “Getting Unstuck” episode. I supposed I’ll have to wait and see.

  2. This may be something y’all wind up covering in your planned “getting unstuck” episode, but I’m having an issue debugging a scene.

    I was going through Holly’s “Working Tour” a little while back and came up with a great character, a fantastic villain, and a potential love interest that I like a lot. There’s a scene I had roughly brainstormed where the heroine, Andi, is preparing an escape attempt from the household where she is essentially an indentured chambermaid. She and the villain and have a long history pre-existing the story which no one in the story knows at this point (except him and her), and he’s just showed up seemingly out of nowhere. So, she’s packing her bag to leave, and then in stumbles Renny, her love interest. The scene I’m stuck on is more character-development than anything else. It’s meant to show their relationship: he’s hopelessly infatuated with her; she usually flirts back because she’s used to using sex for power, but has bigger things on her mind. Furthermore, her compelling avoidance is dependence on or ownership by a man in any form. However, for whatever reason, every time I write the scene, she comes out all vulnerable and open with him—when she’s supposed to be lying to him, keeping him in the dark, and manipulating him into helping her escape without him knowing what he’s doing (a move which is supposed to backfire). Instead, she keeps laying it all out there. It keeps becoming a sweet, tender moment between them—but that type of acceptance of his affection isn’t meant to come until later, when she’s realized that he actually cares for her in a way she didn’t think men COULD care for women, and that she feels the same.

    So I suppose the short of it is, how do I get these characters to act how they’re meant to? She’s been fine in all her other seems, but I stick her alone in a room with him, and she gets all doe-eyed and delicate. It’s driving me insane!

  3. I was working on lesson two the sweet spot map in “How to Think Sideways” when I listened to this podcast.
    I did the worksheets for both.
    It was like a therapy session. I actually cried a few times about stuff that came up.
    It helped me with the revision I’m working on. I’m on lesson 12 character sharpener and I feel like I understand a couple of my characters better, and saw where I could smoosh some of them together, like they were fragments of a larger whole that came clearer after doing the worksheets, esp. the ones about desire and fear.
    I think writing is like that principle in physics that nothing is ever lost, no matter or energy is destroy just converted to some other thing. And it seems to all be stashed in brain, waiting to be (re) discovered.
    thanks for doing these podcasts!

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