Try This! - Brainstorm from Books, Movies, and TV Shows

By Kate Karyus Quinn:

Some writers overflow with new ideas, but I usually need to dig a bit to find mine. Usually this process begins with a brainstorming session. 

I turn to a fresh page in my notebook (brainstorming always demands a nice blank page) and then begin to list other books, movies, and television shows that I've enjoyed. Sometimes I'll even start to list the things I love about them. From the movie ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, I love the idea of erasing bad memories and how this can lead to people repeating the same mistakes again and again. 

From there I might tease out bits of dialogue or get the beginnings of a character's voice. Or I can combine aspects of two different stories I enjoy - the spine tingling tension from a horror novel paired with the will-they-or-won't-they romance from my favorite television show. 

As long as you steer clear of taking characters, verbatim passages, or exact stories, but instead simply borrow ideas and then use them in new ways to make them your own - you'll eventually brainstorm your own- unique to you - story.

Click to Enlarge this Notebook Entry

Click to Enlarge this Notebook Entry

Click to Enlarge this Notebook Entry

Kate Karyus Quinn is the author of young adult books ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE (HarperTeen 2013), (DON'T YOU) FORGET ABOUT ME (HarperTeen 2014), and the forthcoming DOWN WITH THE SHINE (HarperTeen April 26th, 2016). You can find her online at

To go back to the list of all Try This! ideas, click HERE.
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