Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Brainstorming Problems Away: When Travel Interrupts the Work Schedule

Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms. She writes weird books in lots of weird genres like fantasy (Blood of Kings and Kinsman Chronicles), science fiction (Replication), and dystopian (The Safe Lands trilogy). She has a podcast/vlog at You can also find Jill on InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest, or on her author website. Tagboth (Tag for short) is a goldhorn dragon from Belfaylinn, a hidden fantasy realm on the western end of the Sargasso Sea. Jill is working on the first book of this tale for this year's Grow an Author series.

Today I am on the road, driving from the Portland, Oregon area to Shannon Dittemore's home near Sacramento, California so that she and I and our friend Paul Regnier can teach a teen track at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers' Conference! Arghphth! So. Excited.

I am looking forward to a great week, hanging out with writer friends and teen writers. My favorite!

When on the road like this, I can't blog. I can't do much work at all. (Though I am toying around with using a blue tooth ear piece to record myself talking. I'm going to see if it's possible for me to audibly write a little during this super long road trip. If I succeed, I shall report back.) What I can do, however, is think. There is plenty of time for thinking while on the road. In fact, it's a great time for brainstorming away major story problems. So that's what I'm doing today. I'm going to think, think, think, just like Winnie the Pooh. And if that isn't enough to do the trick, I will think, think, think all the way home again too. And by the time I'm back from this great adventure, I will have figured out the answers to some important problems with my story.

That means, before I left, I needed to prepare my list of problems so that I would have them handy while on the road. So I wrote in a notebook the following:

Onyx Eyes:
-How exactly does my new idea for traveling through the Thin Places work?

-Think through the disease that takes over Drake due to his bond with the dragon. Also, does the dragon get the same disease? Does it affect only the physical body or the mind as well?

-I have five chapters in part three with no story planned. Figure out what is going to happen in those five chapters!

-Figure out who Kaitlyn's parents were and what they witnessed. Where they are now.

-Explore Kaitlyn-as-bard angle. Could be a bard is more than music.

-Where is the real Quinn?

-Why was the fake Quinn still in Kaitlyn's home if he was supposed to be guarding the princess?

I have taken this list with me on the road. When I have worked through some of it, and when I stop for gas or lunch (because writing and driving don't mix!), I'll write down any notes I came up with so I won't forget my genius ideas. Then when I am home next week, I'll be ready to start writing.

Whoo hoo!

Do you have any tips for brainstorming your way out of problems? Share in the comments.


  1. I've been doing so little writing lately, but all sorts of brainstorming changing so much of what has been there for years in my books. It is exhausting and takes a lot of mental energy, but it is so rewarding!!! I always take my writing journal pretty much everywhere just in case a writing idea hits.

    1. Awesome! Yes, it is rewarding to figure out how you'll fix things. It always gets me really excited to write.

  2. I've been doing a lot of brainstorming lately. My method thus far has just been write all the problems down, scribble down any possible solutions that come to me, and don't force myself to tackle the problems one at a time. Sometimes this means I'm kind of jumping all over the place, but my story is beginning to come together finally. (Ah, the pain of not having much of an outline, haha)

    1. Fabulous, Gwen. It's so ehilerating when you see that story coming together.

  3. That sounds so exciting, Mrs. Williamson! I wanted to attend that conference and meet you and Mrs. Dittemore in person, but alas, it is too far away to be a good first-time conference for me.
    That sounds like a great plan! I sometimes have to prevent myself from brainstorming while driving because I have a bad habit of losing focus and drifting... Hopefully I will be able to multitask better once I've had my license for more than seven months. Have fun at the conference!

    1. Oh my! Yes, that would not be good. You are wise to wait on that. Lol! Hope to see you at a conference someday, Olivia. :-)