What If Brainstorm

What If Brainstorm


🎨 Your Challenge, Should You Choose to Accept it ...

Sometimes an injection of new ideas is needed to invigorate a long-term project. You don't have to change the overall plot or anything major about the story to add a little zest, fun, or complication to what might happen in the next scenes. Here's one way to add fresh ideas to your book:

  1. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
  2. Write the setting of the next scene in the center of a blank sheet of paper and circle it.
  3. Draw lines outward, and add an idea per line. Each idea should finish the question, "What if ...?" For instance in a forest scene, What if ...:
    • a rustle in the bushes convinced her a mountain lion was stalking along beside her?
    • he got a mosquito bite?
    • she dropped her sweatshirt in the mud?
    • they found wild raspberries and decided to have a spontaneous treat?
  4. While you're brainstorming, don't worry about how you'd make the ideas work. Go for quantity over quality. If you have a general idea of how you want the scene to feel, you can focus your ideas by asking yourself "what might be funny," or "what might be scary?"
  5. Once your time is up, if you have more ideas, set the timer again and keep going. Or put another setting on another page and let yourself continue in this wide-open, creative mode of thinking.
  6. When you're done, first count up your ideas and write that total on your page. Remember, quantity was your goal. How did you do? Celebrate your success, and then review your original goal for the scene. Maybe in this forest scene, you want your characters to travel from one place to another quickly. Which of your ideas might fit with, and further, that goal? Choose an idea or two that you'd like to try out. Also, keep your brainstorming list. Maybe later on in your story, you'll want to use or build off of some of these other ideas!

Earn 50 points for this challenge by sharing your work or a quick note about your experience with Sonja:


  1. If you created on paper, snap a photo of your project and share the image.
  2. If you created your work on a computer, share an image or a PDF!
  3. You can also send a simple email with a written note about your experience.