Main characters from original brainstorming sheet as used in A Taste of Honey
Main characters from brainstorming sheet used in – A Taste of Honey

I need certain ingredients to produce a novel.
* An idea for the story.
* A cast of characters.
* At least a basic knowledge of the main subject of the plot / story.
* A setting, which may be situated in one country, or across several countries.
* A selection of resource material.

Crystal’s family tree – as used in Amsterdam Calling



Before I write a word, I imagine the story and I work out a simple brainstorming sheet. It starts as a single A4 sheet of paper and I write buzz words at random and circle them, like:
good guys, bad guys, hero/heroine, vehicles, weapons, locations, main subjects.

The next stage is to draw lines from each of those circled words. Let’s use ‘bad guys’ for an example:
Gang leader, pimp, car-thief, arms-dealer, smuggler, murderer, forger, pick-pocket.

This helps me build up from the single character in that particular aspect of the tale.
I might not use all of the ‘add-on’ characters, but it gives me scope and gets the imagination working.
I would create lists like that from each of my original buzz words on my brainstorming sheet.
On occasion I will construct a brainstorming sheet such as might be used by a character in my current story. This helps me by highlighting areas I might not have considered in the story, and it assists me to create more depth to the story.


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