Take a walk…then get specific

In preparation for travel tomorrow, my house is clean and unusually quiet, and I don’t have any current emergencies to deal with. That meant I had time to go on a nice walk around the neighborhood. I had forgotten how nice it was just to be outside, much less to have a few minutes just to let my brain roll around a little.

I had my iPod and a favorite set of songs (including a couple by Radiohead and Smashing Pumpkins), so as they played, I let my mind wander to Chicago and the events in Chicagoland Vampires 4, which I’m currently brainstorming. As the bassline thumped, I got a fabulous idea for fleshing out a scene.
It was a great reminder that sometimes the best way to write is to get away from the writing, and give your mind a little room to roam.
* * *

Once that walk is done, give yourself 10 or 15 minutes for a brainstorming exercise:
1. Pick one of your characters–any character.
2. Imagine their “key” surrounding. Is it an office?* A car?** A kitchen?***
3. Once you’ve made your selection, make a list of the kind of things in that special space, then do a little Googling. If it’s a kitchen, decide which stove they’d use, which type of plates and mixing bowls, the kinds of things in the refrigerator. Be specific, and find pictures.
4. Put together a collage or Photoshop an image of the pics you’ve found.
5. Congratulations! You’ve now given yourself a visual model for your next writing session. Use that collage/image to
* – Ethan, Chicagoland Vampires Novels, Chloe Neill
** – Joanna, Weather Wardens, Rachel Caine
*** – Rachel Morgan, The Hollows, Kim Harrison
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