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Bolu Kai

Brainstorming Techniques

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I would like to ask a general question to anyone who is willing to answer. Feel free to share any type of brainstorming technique/method that helps you to create new ideas. I am hoping that I can use one or more of the methods to help come up with ideas that I may not be able to with my normal ways of brainstorming.

 

The Question:

What technique do you use to brainstorm and why? If it is obscure please describe it.

 

My favorite method of brainstorming is freewriting. I just let my mind wander while I write down everything.

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Imaginary Village Council

 

In this method, you imagine that you have a group of character with different backgrounds and interests, and imagine that they have come together to discuss the topic. You go through each character one by one and have them talk about what they think.

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I make lists a lot.  Occasionally I will do webbing.  Pages of doodles, if I'm doing something visual like designing clothing or creating an alphabet.  Also for visual projects I trawl google image search for photos and keep the good ones in folders so I can look at them again later.  If I have no story idea at all I like to wander through a book store or library looking at just the titles and speculating to myself what kind of story might go with such a title.  My speculation will usually be completely different than what's actually in the book, so I've just created an original idea for a book.  There's also a piece of software called Storybase where you can put in names of two or three of your characters and it will generate some random situations or motivations for them.

 

One of the most interesting brainstorming methods I've seen involves using tarot cards, or a similar deck of cards with pictures on them, such as the card game Once Upon A Time.

 

One thing I haven't discovered an effective brainstorming technique for is plot details. :/

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Imaginary Village Council
 
In this method, you imagine that you have a group of character with different backgrounds and interests, and imagine that they have come together to discuss the topic. You go through each character one by one and have them talk about what they think.

 
The Imaginary Village Council method is new to me. Do you have any specific characters or personalities that you prefer to use? 
 
PS. I have never heard of Storybase. I am sure that will come in handy :D Thanks!

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Re: Bolu

 

I have a village of about 50 characters. Initially they have no personality. I went through each and asked them for a wish that they want to come true. Their personalities then get developed as they work together and try to fulfill each wish.

 

Some of the archetypes I have are:

 

1. A King who is fair and only makes a promise when he can keep it. He is humble and cares about the well-being of his subordinates. He motivates the people to do the right thing, do it right, and get it done.

 

2. A Stylist who the villagers seek help when they want to make something prettier. She is good at comparing different designs and verbalize the difference between them, why one looks better than the other, and how to make it look even better.

 

3. A Historian who keeps good records and meeting minutes. She keeps track of information that people would likely forget.

 

4. A young Baker (kid) who is innocent and likes to be with people. She is curious and wants to do things that would help people.

 

5. A Village Drunk who just says whatever is in his mind.

 

6. A Mayor who is good at resolving conflicts.

 

7. A Scavenger who is good at re-purposing things and making things out of junk.

 

8. An Adventurer who gets bored easily and wants to do exciting things.

 

9. A Patrol who stays vigilant for threats and keeps the village safe.

 

10. A Gambler who likes to tease people and make bets.

 

etc...

 

 

The context of the village council is that when someone wishes for something, the wish is posted on a bulletin board. Then the villages who want to work on it come together to form a task force. The task force will discuss the wish with the villager who made the wish, brainstorm, design, and make the wish come true.

 

In your context, when you have something you want to brainstorm, you are the client seeking help from the consultant group. The group are the villagers who volunteered to help you. They will ask you questions to pinpoint what you want. They will give suggestions, design, and implement. In this sense they don't stay just for a brainstorming session. They stay in the task force until the project is complete.

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Honestly my best ideas and concepts have come from 40+ hours of no sleep with a small amount of alcohol in the system.. Though not very ethical or healthy I feel it helps. Getting outside of your "normal" mindset is huge and those to variables will definitely do that... With that said.. I have also wanted to through black holes into random points of a game that have nothing to do with space... So maybe it isn't the best way. haha 

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