EXERCISE Brainstorming Plots: The Big Six Questions

Discussion in 'REFINING WRITING' started by Diana, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. Let's assume that you already have an idea for a roleplay. A really basic idea. You just have no idea how to expand on that idea. What you need then is a little bit of plot brainstorming. I like to call this plot bunny breeding. :D You're taking our core concept, and then breeding tons and tons of ideas that can work with the concept.

    A lot of people get hung up because they keep having ideas, but none of them seem to work for their plot. Don't give up or be discouraged if the perfect idea doesn't come to you right away. Sometimes you need to ramble out a bunch of random stuff before you hit inspiration. With brainstorming, you are getting your brain in gear to help you find that perfect idea. Where one thing doesn't work out, you can accidentally come up with something really awesome.

    In this exercise, you will brainstorm multiple options for the "Big Six Questions" about your plot. Then put together your favorites to form your plot.

    The Big Six Questions are the basic questions for journalism! But they can also apply to ANY plot, story, or character you write up. For EACH of these questions, think up six options that could happen or relate to your plot of choice.

    WHO ...is in this plot!
    In this case WHO is going to be the stars of the plot. Your who might be a single main character, many specific characters, or people in someone's past. Your cast of characters can bring up many different plot ideas. In a zombie apocalypse, you're going to have different sort of stories for a group of highschoolers compared to army soldiers.

    WHAT ...will happen in this plot!
    All plots need conflicts and road blocks. Stuff that is going on in the world. Your WHAT should list off a bunch of things you want to throw at your main characters. Are you being attacked by aliens? Is the country at war? Is there going to be love triangles? Does a car crash change someone's life?

    WHEN ...is this all happening?
    Asking this question could mean anything from history of the world, time of life of the character, or time of events! It can also include when you would like certain plot events to happen to your characters. When you have a lot of things you want to do in a plot, you can write down the sequence of events, and even create more plot ideas on how those events connect together.

    WHERE ...is this going to take place?
    Locations can have a lot of impact on the story. Jotting down lots of places that you want scenes to take place will help with ideas. Different kinds of plot twists and storylines can come out of changing up locations. Like taking place at school vs at work or at home. In a country that is at war, or walking in to a tavern in the middle of the night.

    WHY ...is all this happening?
    You won't have a story without having reasons. The WHYs are reasons that things are happening. Two countries at war, what happened to cause this? Why are characters involved and trying to fix or fight? Those damned zombies are here, but how? Why did the aliens choose earth to invade?

    HOW ...does it all tie together?
    When you're putting together a bunch of elements they need to be related and make sense for your plot. If your plot is about fighting dragons in a fantasy land, but you want to feature a scientist as a main character, you how to figure out HOW that can be accomplished. In a modern setting about Japanese high school students, you couldn't throw in this Russian mob kid without knowing the HOWS.

    There you go! Think up at least six random ideas in each Question, and at the end of your exercise, pick your favorite and create your plot!
    #1 Diana, Jul 15, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2013
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