It’s always good to have a person to brainstorm and bounce story ideas off. Unfortunately, the right person to be your brainstorm buddy is not easy to find.
Most people are only half listening, agree with all your ideas, or are secretly trying to manipulate your story to fit what they want the story to be. Basically, they aren’t actually helpful.
For me, my brainstorm buddy sat across from me at work, and while we weren’t inputting mindless data and filing paper, we’d compete to see who could finish a sudoku puzzle quicker…or they would help me cultivate a story.
That was years ago, and since I’ve left that job I have yet to come across another person I could so easily bounce ideas off while they would tell me what sucked and what didn’t. As well as input aspects of the story I hadn’t thought of.
And one day…we wrote an entire story, outlined an entire trilogy – by mouth, and I never wrote it down.
It’s not any different than oral storytelling, but I remember while we were talking it out, we were preparing it for a novel format.
I still remember “book one” and can vaguely outline the next two books we talked about.
We planned to iron out all of menial details later, so our main characters became Amy, Adam, and Spock. I won’t rehash the entire story, but to give you an idea – it was futuristic, and humans had to find a new planet. They found one, the “aliens” were humanlike, but had no emotion (hint, can you guess why a main character is named Spock?) Yadda yadda, reproduction was possible between the two – offspring were called Halflings. Amy was human, while Adam and Spock were Halflings.
We even had dialogue down.
I loved it. I even went home and retold the story a million times to family members.
My brainstorm buddy thought that Spock should die, I refused. Like all good writers I had already grown attached to a character that wasn’t even on paper yet. (Insert laugh here.)
(I should also mention that genre fiction isn’t my thing, this story just so happened to be one.)
The process of telling an entire story as ideas bounced off someone else made storytelling clearer to me in a way that I would never have realized otherwise.
Everyone reads differently, has different preferences. I tended to feed into my own wants for the story. Spock couldn’t die, but to my brainstorm buddy it made more sense if he did.
That experience caused me to be more honest in my storytelling, and with myself. Not everything can have a happy ending (my biggest flaw, to be honest.)
We can’t write selfishly. I’m not saying kill a character, I’m saying remember your audience.
As for never writing it out, I think that’s okay. Not every story has to be a novel. Although, one day, possibly.