2022 Teen Writers' Rally

How I Brainstorm Ideas // Teen Writers’ Rally Day 8

Welcome back for Day 8 of the Teen Writers’ Rally!!!! We’re kicking-off National Novel Writing Month with back-to-back posts featuring amazing authors, bloggers, and more! Tune in every day until November 5th for new posts full of writing tips, advice, and encouragement. Posts are live at 6:00 EST, and if you’re not already, subscribe to Teen Writers’ Nook via email to receive a notification when the next post for the rally is up. (Form can be found to the right if on a computer or at the bottom of the page if on a mobile device.) And stay until the end of the post for information about the giveaway running through the entire event!

This is Katherine here to introduce TWN’s very own Madeleine!!!! *cough* I mean Alana! *cough cough* More on the name thing in a minute. Madeleine is one of my many fantabulous sisters who also helped start Teen Writers’ Nook as well as helped edit TWN’s Imagine anthology. She is an animal-lover and, may I add, an impressive fact-rememberer! (Seriously, her incredible memory blows my mind!) Anyway, she is here today to share with you her brainstorming process.

Hey everyone. Welcome back to Teen Writers’ Nook for the Teen Writers’ Rally.

First off, I would like to say that this is Alana from TWN. As most of you probably know, my real name is Madeleine and I will be switching from Alana to Madeleine here at TWN.

Now for the post. Today I will tell you all how I brainstorm ideas for writing.

Whenever I brainstorm, I usually think of so many different things and jot them all down in a journal. Some of my thoughts are about character arcs, made up animals/plants, make believe worlds, plots, themes, etc. After I jot them down, I will look back over my ideas. Usually, it will take me several days before I am able to get a whole story idea from all those ideas.

There are many things from where I get my inspiration from. I love to study and do research about animals. Each animal is so unique in its own way, and I would sometimes take certain characteristics of different animals and group them into one animal that I have created. I also love learning about different cultures, and I get inspired as I create different countries for my fantasy world.

Sometimes as I’m reading my favorite stories, I imagine what it might would be like if another character was in it. I would then most likely start building a story for that one character. I also get inspired by themes such as love, friendship, redemption, etc. and use those themes to find a story for them.

I know that this is a very short post. But, that is how I brainstorm. That’s all there is. There isn’t anymore. What do you guys do to brainstorm your ideas?

Giveaway info: During the rally (October 24th-November 5th) Teen Writers’ Nook is running a giveaway. Three winners will be chosen and the winners will win their choice of one of the books pictured below. (Imagine anthology is also included, though not pictured.) This giveaway is open to both U.S. and international entries!

Every post you comment on during the rally earns you an extra entry into the giveaway! To enter with this post comment below and tell answer: If you could have any magical creature for a pet, what would it be?

Remember to tune in tomorrow for an interview with Jenna Terese, YA Christian sci-fi author of Ignite


  • Kimberly

    That’s a pretty cool way to create new fictitious animals and worlds. Research and reading, blended with writing (the 3 ‘Rs’) is always the way I get my brain working on new projects – and, of course, sprinkled with lots of IMAGINATION. Great posts, Alana (hehehe, I mean Madeleine).

    • Madeleine

      Yes, it is pretty cool. That is basically the same with me. Reading, writing, plotting, imagination, and sometimes research are what I use to help me with my story ideas. Thanks, Kimberly (I mean Mommy XD).

  • Rylie

    Ohh I love that brainstorming process! I kinda do the same thing. I have a lot of ideas in my head and then just kinda write an outline from that. XD

    I want an Imp from Keeper of the Lost Cities. XDD Or a unicorn. Or a dragon… there are too many cool animals that should totally be real! XD

    • Madeleine

      Thank you! I find it very helpful to write it down when I have so many ideas.

      An Imp! That sounds interesting. What is an Imp? I love unicorns and dragons! Whenever I’m writing fantasy, I ALWAYS include a unicorn AND a dragon.🦄🐉

  • Mary

    Ooo, Madeleine (beautiful name, btw!), I love the idea of imagining another character in a story and then writing your own story based off of that. So cool!!

    To answer the question, I would probably want a phoenix or a dragon 😝

    • Madeleine

      Thanks, Mary. I love your name. My favorite part of any story is the characters (including the animals). It can be hard for me sometimes because I might write the character in the same setting with the same plot. But I do get cool story ideas.

      Ooh! A phoenix is an AWESOME creature! A dragon is also cool.🪶🐉

  • Gemma

    Amazing post! It’s interesting to see how different writers do things.
    I would want a cuddly pet. But I would like a dragon if I couldn’t find one sufficiently cuddly.

    • Madeleine

      Thanks, Gemma. Yes, it is so interesting. I hear what my sisters do when they write and I’m amazed at how different it is with me and between them.
      A fantasy cuddly pet would be AWESOME!!!! I have created pets that look like live-teddy bears in one of my novels. You can use that if you want. A dragon is another great choice to have as a pet!🧸🐉

  • Corrie.S.P

    Happy Reformation Day Everybody!!
    Research is a huge part of writing! You have to get the facts strait for your structures and keep those picky readers happy🤣

    If you could have any magical creature for a pet, what would it be? I can only pick one!!!!! Agghhhhh! Hm……… *thinking* 🤔
    Shapeshifting cat. That way if I get into trouble it can turn into a lion or some other big cat and protect me.

    • Madeleine

      Thanks! Happy late Reformation Day! (Sorry that it’s late).
      I agree. Research is a huge part of writing. Haha. You’re absolutely right!🤣

      Yes, sorry, but you have to pick one! Or two if you have trouble picking one.
      Shapeshifting cat! A domestic cat that can shapeshift into a big cat!! I LOVE cats!!! Even big cats!!! That is so COOL!!!!!!!
      🦁🐯🐱🐅🐆🐈🐈‍⬛ (I am now obsessive with cat emojis).

  • Mary McMinn

    First of all thanks for the tips! I tend to pull out my journal and jot down the first thing that comes to my mind.

    I would hands down want a dragon. I’ve always wanted a dragon but I couldn’t *ahem* *cough* quite convince my parents ;). Ah, well I guess I’ll just stick to my dog and call it good. Thank You!

    • Madeleine

      You’re welcome, Mary! That is a great way to brainstorm your idea! It can definitely help with writing the story.

      A dragon! That’s cool! I want a unicorn. (but I couldn’t convince my parents either). I can’t even convince them to get a cat🐈‍⬛. I guess I will also just have to stick with a dog (I also love dogs)🐕.
      You’re welcome!🐲🦄

    • Madeleine

      Thanks, Lorelei! You’re welcome!

      Cute animals are the best!! A fox with a lot of tales sounds unique🦊! Toothless is the BEST dragon EVER!!!!!🐉 I LOVE Toothless!!!!!❤

    • Madeleine

      A miniature pet dragon sounds cool! Dragons are obviously the most popular mythical/magical creature.🐉 I love brainstorming tips, too. You’re welcome, Allyson!

  • Katja Labonté

    Okay, I have never thought of this before but it is such a cool and creative idea! I am not good at brainstorming myself unless I talk it all out loud, so I should give this a try…

    Also I don’t believe in magic but if I could have a non-magical dragon for a pet, I would really like that. Specifically if it was a dwarf dragon. I kinda really want one tbh. We need more dragons in books. XD

    • Madeleine

      Thanks, Katja! Yes, you should give it a try, to at least see if it helps or not.

      A non-magical dragon is pretty cool! A dwarf dragon sounds so unique! Yes, absolutely! I love reading books with dragons in them!🐉

  • K.R.Mattson

    I plague friends when I’m brainstorming. They always have the most diverse ideas!

    A horse. I know, I know, horses aren’t really fantasy creatures. But I had this idea the other day of a River horse with a fin mane on its neck. Not sure about the tail, but it’d be a light blue or something. Imagination running wild. 😂

    • Madeleine

      I think it is good to get a variety of ideas for your stories.

      I LOVE horses! Yeah, they’re not fantasy creatures, but they are still AWESOME🐎!!!! I LOVE your River horse creature! Kinda like a mix between a horse and a fish.🐎🐟 I always like to hear about fantasy creatures that an author has created!

  • Saraina

    “Sometimes as I’m reading my favorite stories, I imagine what it might would be like if another character was in it. I would then most likely start building a story for that one character.” That is so creative and fun!!!! I’ve never done that before!! Brainstorming is weirdly hard for me because often I can’t just produce tons of ideas on demand… I have to let it sit and think about it over the course of several days before my best ideas come to me! 😉

    • Madeleine

      Thanks, Saraina! Sitting and thinking about your best ideas for several days is a lot like brainstorming. Sometimes, I have to just sit and think about my novels and it can take me several days as well. But I still see that brainstorming because I’m thinking of what should happen in my stories. I think you’re doing pretty good!

  • Emma

    Ooooo I love the idea of using a journal while brainstorming!! I’ve actually thought about using one before since I think it would be very helpful for me…but I haven’t yet so I should really start doing that soon. XD I usually try typing out everything as I’m brainstorming on a google doc but for some reason it can be hard sometimes so I feel like if I actually wrote the words down on paper (and then could make markups/move stuff around) it would be more beneficial. XDD And imagining what it would be like if another character was in a story seems super helpful and fun too!! Thank you SO much for sharing, Madeleine!! <333

    I think a griffin would be a fun magical creature to have as a pet. XP

    • Madeleine

      Thanks, Emma! I do find it helpful. It keeps my thoughts organized. Oh, yeah you should start doing that soon XD. I do find journals and notepads are easier for journaling than a Google doc. It is fun! You’re very welcome, Emma!!

      Yes, a griffin WOULD be a fun pet! I like how it is a crossbreed of an eagle and a lion🦅🦁! Just make sure you keep your shiny things hidden. I heard that griffins would steal anything that is shiny XD.

  • Faith Quelle

    This was short, true, but absolutely valid! I often brainstorm in much the same way… thanks for the post, Madeleine!

    I dunno… a miniature dragon? Or a unicorn? Or maybe the Loch Ness monster…

    • Madeleine

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoy it. You’re welcome, Faith!

      A miniature dragon and a unicorn both sound great! The Loch Ness monster is also a cool creature to have as a pet!🐉🦄🦕

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *