Thursday, April 19, 2012


Help me please! I signed up for a YA novel writing class thinking it included a session on brainstorming. (The sample syllabus did). But it does not. Now I need a fully developed idea for a YA novel by Monday night.

I'm throwing one idea around about a demon slaying girl in love with the devil whom she unfortunately has to kill. He's also in love with her but needs to kill her and is way more powerful than her. I have no beginning and a slight idea of the end. I have no major plot points. Just a concept.

I was hoping to write a contemp romance, because on plot point Tuesdays when I break novels down it just seems easier to do with contemps. However, I have no idea for a contemp.

Any ideas? Any brainstorming techniques? Help please!


  1. If you have an ending point, that's good. Back track slowly and work through the plot in reverse. How did they get to that final moment? What came before that? Before that? Etc.

    Other things to think about:
    How do they meet?
    How did she start slaying demons?
    Is she from a long line of slayers? Or did she get involved because a demon (maybe the devil) killed someone close to her?
    What draws her to him even though she must kill him?

    Good luck!

  2. I can give you a YA contemp romance idea, if you'd like. I have one I will probably never write because I don't write YA >.<

    But as far as brainstorming is concerned, I'll share my, um...'secret' ^_^ I take an idea, like the one you have above about the demon slaying girl, and I just brain dump. I think outloud (either at the computer or with pen/paper). Write everythign that comes to mind about the story, even if it's just questions you don't have answers to.

    Don't hold anything back, allow yourself to vocalize all of the thoughts, and follow them if they become story related tangents.

    'demon slaying girl...why does she slay demons? maybe she woke up one day and felt compelled or maybe one killed her baby brother. That's it and so she's been hunting them for years and the story opens with one she's just found, and he's kicking her butt.

    but if he wins, how does she get away alive? Concidence? He hesitates? An ancient prophecy drives him to stop? No, prophecy is lame. Maybe some stranger comes along and distracts him just long enough for her to retreat with her tail between her legs...'

    And then I write out pages of thoughts like that until it starts to become a cohesive story.

    Enjoy the class and I'm sure you'll find something that works for you ^_^

  3. I use a brainstorming strategy like Loralie. I make a list of everything I know, no matter how trivial about the story I want to write. Things like approximate ages, hair color, where do they work/go to school. Basically anything that comes to mind. I usually start with a few things already (like you have) and the list grows organicly as I go. Once I'm done with what I know, I start a new list of what I don't know. For example, questions I would ask myself for your story are: does she have powers/or is she just kick ass? has she fought a lot of demons, who else knows she does this?, is this is another world, or ours? Once I start fleshing out those questions, I usually get some good details.

    If I'm struggling with plot I ask myself, What is the worst thing that could happen to my MC? then What is the best thing that could happen to my Antagonist?

    Good luck!

  4. I also use a similar brainstorming technique. I start with a basic idea and then write down everything that pops into my mind, even the stupid stuff. :) It's amazing how the stupid stuff can lead to really cool stuff *after* you write it down. :)

    Okay, so here's what popped into my head after reading everyone's comments:
    Demon hunting girl and demon guy accidentally meet each other (outside of their 'day jobs' of demoning and demon hunting) while also looking for each other because they have to kill each other, but each are really good at hiding his/her true nature. And, each doesn't know the other is out looking for him/her.

    I hope that made sense... :) Take, leave, explore, modify, nix entirely, whatever. But I hope it was helpful. :)

  5. You could could still make it a YA romance. Tabitha's suggestion gives you the opportunity to have a "cute meet" before getting into the demon hunting/slaying, plus gives you a Romeo & Juliet twist with them being mortal enemies and whatnot. Good luck!

  6. Beth - looks like you've gotten some really great ideas. I hope they help you get a fully developed idea by Monday.

  7. Hi, I got to this late. But I tell students to write a list of ten plot ideas. Circle your fave. Then write a list of twenty plot points for THAT story. Circle your three faves. It's a way of getting unconscious material out fast, without belaboring it.

    1. This helped a lot. I didn't get 20 plot points but i got some things I can used and got a good idea. ;)