A Brainstorming Exercise for Your Next Story

Brainstorm unique words to use during the story planning process.

Martha Lueck
5 min readMar 31, 2022

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Do you want to write a short story, but don’t know where to start? Are you having trouble coming up with names for your characters? I’ve been there before. A few weeks ago, I came up with this fun exercise to help me gather ideas. In the first part of this story, I will tell you about the brainstorming process. Then I will show you how to apply it to your story plan. Let’s go!

Step-by-Step Brainstorming Exercise Guide

1. Write down one sentence.

Choosing one sentence lays the groundwork for this exercise. Your sentence can be a greeting, an event, a season, the weather, or a hobby. Here are five examples.

  • Have a nice day.
  • I can’t wait to celebrate your birthday.
  • Spring and fall are my favorite seasons.
  • Today will be warm.
  • I like to run and watch comedies.

When you think of sentences, make sure they have several different letters. Some of your letters can be duplicated, but a variety of them will make it easier to come up with words. The sentence “Have a nice day” contains 12 letters, nine of which are different.

2. Create a list of words.

Using the letters from your sentence, write as many words as you can find. If you need help, research words that contain your letters. When you think of last names, it is okay for your words to be fake or unusual. Usually, I write down at least 30 words. Here are some examples of first names, last names, and other words.

3. Identify a theme for your story.

After you are satisfied with your list of words, look for a theme. For instance, words like fish, sand, seashell, boat, and scuba relate to the ocean. The theme for that type of story might be “My first ocean adventure.”

When I created my word list, it was difficult to find one specific theme. You might experience this issue as well, but hope is not lost. Proceed to the next step for more ideas.

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Martha Lueck

Published author | Freelance blogger for HealthyPlace.com | Passionate about mental health and Jesus | https://tinyurl.com/5fbu7pj7