Have you ever wanted to write a novel but couldn’t figure out to write a page-turner? I have a wonderful book for you! Michelle Lim is the author of Idea Sparking: How to Brainstorm Conflict in Your Novel. If you’d love to write but aren’t sure how to come up with conflict that hooks a reader’s interest, you’ll want to find out more about Michelle’s book.
Q: What inspired you to write your new book Idea Sparking: How to Brainstorm Conflict in Your Novel?
Michelle: The idea for this book began to form a few years ago when I saw so many writers struggling to come up with unpredictable story ideas. They lamented over the blank page and were plagued with writer’s block. At first this surprised me, because brainstorming comes naturally to me. Editing on the other hand makes me want to shred my manuscript. My own struggle with editing helped me empathize with the blank-page challenged. Soon the idea to teach others how to brainstorm began to form.
Q: How can you teach someone to brainstorm who is not a natural brainstormer?
Michelle: Anyone can learn to improve their brainstorming skills by learning some basic principles of brainstorming. Often it is as simple as learning to brainstorm without censoring your ideas. Anytime you stop the process to analyze the credibility of your ideas, you interrupt your mind’s ability to be creative.
Idea Sparking focuses on teaching the basic principles for brainstorming conflict, the key elements to building conflict and tension, and diagnostic strategies to help writers fix a predictable plot, sagging middle, and a variety of other problems.
Q: It’s easy to see how this book can benefit those who struggle with brainstorming, but what about those who love the blank page?
Michelle: There are always ways to strengthen our stories. If you are looking for twists and unpredictable plot, there is a variety of strategies to apply to your own novel. Additional methods are included to help you increase conflict that already exists in your novel. One of my favorite strategies is a formula for creating cliffhangers.
Q: Could you share that formula?
Michelle: You can create a cliffhanger in three easy steps:
- Identify the problem the point-of-view character has going forward in the scene.
- Stop before the problem is resolved.
- Add a line to give it punch that shows why it matters.
Idea Sparking takes you through each of these steps and shows how they work. Then you get to apply the process to your own manuscript.
Q: How did you first learn to brainstorm?
Michelle: As a young girl my sister and I used to have reading contests that filled my mind with stories. We also spent hours watching old movies and dreaming up our own stories. My mom and I also brainstormed endings that would surprise readers and talked about books in an analytical way. Then we brainstormed our own books together.
Q: What contributed to your brainstorming strengths that might surprise others?
Michelle: A few years ago my husband and I began watching whole series of TV shows on Netflix. We would watch an episode together each night before bed. What surprised me most was the character arc that is visible if you watch a whole series in a shorter period of time. Look specifically at series that ran for a long time, because the show’s longevity probably means the writers had the ability to keep people’s attention with their plot. It is a great way to see how some plot strategies work.
Michelle Lim is a romantic suspense writer with three manuscripts that have earned recognition: The Rattler Contest in 2012, the Genesis Contest in 2011, and the Frasier Contest in 2010. Michelle is the Brainstorm/Huddle Coach at My Book Therapy; serves as vice president of a local chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers; and writes devotionals for the Christian Pulse. You can find Michelle at http://thoughtsonplot.wordpress.com/.