Monday, February 6, 2017

Let’s talk brainstorming


OR

I looked for a scene I’d written and couldn’t find it, and decided I’d never written it, I’d only brainstormed it so vividly I thought it was finished

By Mary Connealy

Sure I could have used that as a title. I admit it. I was tempted.

I was doing my daily writing and sometimes my books get a little jumbled up. Not a little, but I’d written a proposal scene and by the time I was done with it, I knew it was too early in the book. So I backed up to right before things got … ahem … friendly and broke the scene off and pushed the proposal on down a ways on the page, then interrupted the couple and went on, the proposal written and ready (if I end up using it) but it hadn’t yet happened.

Mary Connealy
Well that means that each time I open the document for the day’s writing I have to find the starting point from the day before, and that’s about five pages UP from the writing, through all the proposal pages.

So fine, but I’m ready now and I have to work my way around to the proposal, which I hope to do pretty soon.

So I’ve got the criminal blackmailing and old accomplice who has gotten ahead in the world and has a lot to lose. So the old accomplice agrees to help the bad guy.

It’s so CLEAR. The word choices, the movements on the page, how the ROOM looks in the old accomplice’s mansion. But yet, I could not find it and finally had to admit I’d never written it, only brainstormed it.

I brainstorm (although I’d done it in groups and gotten some good stuff) almost exclusively by LONER myself in bed at night while I lie awake in bitter insomniac torment.

If the brainstorming is going well, I don’t even notice the insomnia ...much. In fact if I can brainstorm well, I know I will be going to sleep soon. It’s the nights my brain will NOT calm down and settle into brainstorming that I know I’m in trouble. When I’ve got a song stuck on repeat in my head and am getting angry with My Cowboy for something he did sixteen years ago, and debating some talk radio host about something he said earlier that day….then I know I’m in trouble.


It's when my mind is calm that I can brainstorm and sleep. Yes, my books put me to sleep.<<<< A line to think over and maybe delete later!

I have this image of myself juggling, in very slow motion, throwing ideas into the air, watching them spin, turn in different directions, show different sides, catching them while another idea flips in the air.

Yes, in my private dreams apparently I wanted to be a juggling clown in the circus, but that’s another blog.

So how do you brainstorm? As with all things in writing, there is no one RIGHT way. There is only what works for you. Do you brainstorm online with friends? In groups face to face? Inside your own head? With one trusted friend? A combination? Something completely different?

What works for you? And remember my way only proves I’m a weirdo. And it proves it ain’t a book until you’ve typed it up.

CLICK TO BUY ON AMAZON
Today I am giving away the first ever in the known universe signed copy of Long Time Gone. It doesn’t release until the end of February, and I don’t have my author’s copies yet, so I might not get it out real fast, but it’ll be coming. Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for Long Time Gone, book #2 in the Cimarron Legacy Series.


 Long Time Gone is book #2 in the Cimarron Legacy Series
The Boden clan thought their problems had ended with the death of a dangerous enemy, but have they truly uncovered the real plot to take their New Mexico ranch? Rancher Justin Boden is now in charge. He is normally an unshakable and rugged man, but Angie DuPree, the incompetent assistant to the doctor trying to save Cole, is as distracting a woman as Justin ever laid eyes on—and right when Justin needs to keep his wits about him.


132 comments :

  1. The coffee pot is brewing!

    I brainstorm at night, much like you describe. But I keep a pen, one of those that lights up when you push the button, by my bedside and write down the brilliant ideas as they occur--because every one of them will be gone by morning if I don't.

    I also have a friend who brainstorm with me when I'm just concocting a new story.

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    1. I used to have one of those light-up pens, too, Helen. But I burned it out and never could figure out how to replace a battery or bulb. :) Now I just keep a stack of note cards and a regular pen on the nightstand--and hope in the morning I can read what I wrote in the dark!

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    2. Glynna, I'll send you a pen with a light. They are so handy. smile

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    3. Hi Helen. Once in a while I get an idea so unexpected I'll get up and write it down. I used to have a small dry erase board by my bed for fear I'd forget. But MOSTLY I just daydream/brainstorm the scene. The dialogue is there but it's not important because chances are I'll write something different and revise it a dozen times. Mostly I just need to think 'who's in this next scene and what attitude do I want.' in other words where do I go next and why. And that seems to stick with me overnight.

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    4. A light-up pen!!! How very James Bondish! 😎

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  2. I've never brainstormed a book, but I've had nights where my mind just won't shut off and I go into insomnia land...UGH!! Then I'm so groggy the next day, I probably look like one of the cast of The Living Dead (not that I've EVER watched it, mind you).

    "Yes, my books put me to sleep"....well, your books keep me awake because I have to find out what happens next. Yes....Every. Stinkin. Time. I love your writing, your characters, your scenery, every smell/sight/taste/touch described in them. Sorry, I'm a life long fan of yours...get used to it ;-)

    Brainstorming...my husband and I do a lot of that together. We talk things out at length, sometimes to the point where we begin to sound like a broken record (no not really, I just thought it sounded funny). He has an uncanny knack for seeing something I didn't or vise versa. I guess God really did know what He was doing when He put us together! And sometimes I have private conversations in my own head, trying to see something from every angle. Did you know you can give yourself a headache that way, or at least, I can! Not very often do I brainstorm much with my friends. I don't have many trusted ones, so maybe that explains it.

    Lovely to start my week reading your post Mary! I always look forward to what you have to say, 'cause you know the life-long fan thing :-) Please put my name in the cowboy hat for a chance to win "Long Time Gone". I have "No Way Up" to add it to, thanks so much!

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    1. Trixi, thanks.
      WHAT WORKS FOR YOU, WORKS FOR YOU. Do not let MY WAY be set up in your mind as the RIGHT way.
      Thanks so much for the kind words about my books.

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    2. Good morning Mary, it still is in my neck of the woods anyway :-)

      I appreciate the fact that everyone is different in their approach to how they do things. No one thing or one way is right or wrong for each individual. Each author has their own method of brainstorming, and it's not set in stone for each one :-) I'm glad you found your niche.

      I'm not a writer, so I can't imagine when characters or dialogue bug you in the middle of the night or won't let you go to sleep in the first place! I've heard some characters are harder to wrangle and keep in line than others...lol! Kind of like those mean mama cows when your Cowboy has to tag their babies :-)

      Keep on keeping on, Mary!

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  3. There's that cover! :)

    I need quiet and something not very strenuous to do. Showering, lying in the middle of the floor face down wondering why on earth I ever started this writing thing, going to bed. And then I ask myself story craft questions, like what is his goal or why does this matter or is this character's arc stagnating, until I trip over what's wrong.

    If I'm not exactly sure how things are going in believably land, I talk it out at hubby. I'm not actually thinking he's going to give me good ideas, though he's thrown maybe 2 at me that I've kept, sort of, in this writing journey, but it's mainly me talking it out loud which makes me realize that if I feel stupid trying to explain it--it's stupid, so I better go back to lying on my stomach on top of the Barbie and dirty clothes mess that I've been ignoring to come up with some decent story that won't make my next reviews be readers wondering where my brain went....which I'm not exactly sure where it went, I think I'm using some sort of backup power....

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    1. I'm w/you Melissa. If I get stuck, I discuss it w/my husband. Sometimes his wrong ideas, makes my brain kick into gear. I also have a terrific cp that I can call if it gets really bad.

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    2. I recently brainstormed a book with My Cowboy, but the idea we came up with is good, but now I've though of something else and now I'm afraid I'm going to hurt his feelings if I don't use it. TROUBLE

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  4. I don't brainstorm and I know that's boring and I've said it before. I simply need to lay down or take a shower. Do something that frees my mind and the ideas appear like magic. LOL. There is no point in doing anything else. This is how it works.

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    1. I love how writers are all so different. Makes us more interesting don't you think?

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    2. I get ideas in the shower as well! I once heard an author say that the flow of water molecules over skin changes the electrons on our bodies so we're more open to inspiration. Not sure I remembered that correctly and not sure she knew what she was talking about...

      Just thought I'd add something to the mix. :)

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    3. Uh, showering? I should try showering. For multiple reasons.

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  5. Now Woman's World stories are different. For those I just get out a pen and legal paper and start writing. It just happens.

    I believe it is a lot like Nora Roberts says. If we work too hard to deconstruct how the magic happens, it might not happen.

    So let's not.

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    1. I needed to see this. I think I've been deconstructing. I need to just write.

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    2. It works for you, Tina. YAY! Jeri! Do it, just write. If Tina and Myra agree that's golden.

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    3. Tina and I almost always agree. Mostly. Sometimes.

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  6. Mary, I'm a muser... I muse about what my characters will do in the next scene while I'm doing mundane stuff... So when I sit down at the keyboard, I've played the former scene in my head and can see what the reactions will be.

    They never keep me awake at night... but when I get up around 3:00 AM, they're right there, waiting for me to open the laptop. #partyatruthys!!!!!

    That is about the only quiet time in our house, and I take full advantage of it!

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    1. 3:00 am. Hey, I've heard there is one of those. IN fact, now that I think about it I've even seen it before. As I lay awake. I've even thought, "I'll bet Ruthy's up right now."

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  7. I've been outlining my next WIPs and most of my brainstorming happens alone while I'm lying in bed in the wee hours of the morning. (Like now, except I'm writing this comment, LOL) I get a lot of good ideas in alone in a quiet room. I just need the stretch of time to think. A good 1-3 hours in the morning before the kids are up is WONDERFUL for me. I can really cook something up in my head :-) My Myers-Briggs personalty is INTJ so I guess this explains my loner-brainstorming ways.

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    1. A fellow INTJ lady! Wish I could meet one in real life! :)

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    2. I'm an extrovert. It's been a long time since I've done Myers-Briggs, but seems I'm an ENTJ.

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    3. I've done Meyers Briggs but it's been awhile. Like as part of pre-wedding counselling. I was everything that was practical, no intuitive stuff at all. And I came out as an extrovert, which I reject. Is rejecting a Meyers Briggs test outcome an introverted thing or an extroverted thing.

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    4. I'm consistently INFJ. A test I took recently also added another dimension. So the final result came out like this:

      Individual traits: Introverted – 98%, Intuitive – 65%, Feeling – 66%, Judging – 64%, Turbulent – 81%.

      I am turbulent. Go figure.

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    5. ESTJ. I went and looked up Meyers Briggs and am pretty sure that's how I cam out.
      But I remember thinking that test was STUPID. They'd ask, "Do you prefer dancing in a field of daizies or going to a movie."
      Only worse than that. I COULD NEVER DECIDE AND I DIDN'T WANT TO DO EITHER OF THE CHOICES.
      To me the questions were like: Would you rather have a rat bite you on the face or have someone slam a window down on your fingers.

      Uh...uh...CLICK. I'd just choose one.

      You know? I didn't want either. Yeesh.

      Would you rather have a creepy clown bite you on the neck or crash your car into a redwood.

      Oddly specific questions with NO ANSWER.

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    6. I soooo agree with you, Mary, about those questions. Where is that NEITHER choice, huh?

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    7. MARY CONNEALY, lol. I am laughing so much right now. I'm supposed to be asleep, but I'm laughing :-) For the record, I would prefer to:

      1) Go to a movie.
      2) Have someone slam a window down on my fingers.
      3) Have a creepy clown bite me on the neck.

      (INTJs have clear answers to these questions ;-) )

      MELISSA JAGEARS, my fellow INTJ. We are a rare bunch! Hopefully, we can meet in person one day! I read that INTJ women are .8% of the population.

      DEBBY, I enjoyed meeting you at ACFW. Yes, you are a natural extrovert! Friendly and outgoing.

      MYRA, I get turbulent mentally. I overthink things until I've beat an idea to death :-)

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  8. Hi Mary, sometimes I brainstorm in the car and write ideas down at red lights. Other times something happens in real life and it starts my thoughts flowing. But usually my serious brainstorming happens in my prayer chair with my laptop.

    Thanks for sharing today.

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    1. Jackie it's great to have multiple ways to do it. Good for you.

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  9. Hi Mary,
    I am like Ruthy, I brainstorm when I am doing mindless things. I spend up to three hours in the car each day, driving, so a lot of it comes from that. Then when I sit down to write, it flows. Usually.
    I keep a pad by the bed to capture ideas, which usually come to me at night when my brain is finally emptied.
    I don't brainstorm with friends in the initial stages of a WIP, I do it myself. I don't work with a crit partner until I have several drafts done and it's as good as I can get on my own, then she (some day maybe he, who knows) and I work on how I can plot it better.
    I try to be linear, but if a scene "come" to me I write it down and then see where I can fit it in, whether it's the chapter I'm working on or not. Carpe, like, diem?
    KB

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    1. I'm like you KB, I brainstorm while driving. It helps pass the time.

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    2. Maybe we need a sign for our back windows that says:

      CAUTION: BRAINSTORMING WRITER AT THE WHEEL!

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    3. Kaybee if a scene comes to me I write it but like two sentences. Just a quick and dirty synopsis of it. I write it at the bottom of the book doc and push it down, consulting the list of scenes and deleting them when they're done or rejected and adding now when I think of them

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  10. Hi Mary. I have to be in a quiet place when I brainstorm. I have a notebook and pen handy to jot things down. When I'm at work, if something sneaks into my thoughts, I use post-it notes to jot the 'spark' down and then after work I brainstorm it.

    I would like to thank you all for your prayers for me and my family as we are getting through the passing of my Mom. May you all be blessed.

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    1. I love this, you 'have' to have quiet. It's just such a perfect example of doing what works for you.

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  11. My stories come to me mostly in pieces, not "whole cloth," when I have time to let my brain relax and let it wander, play "what if" and start story world building. I can't think so much as a single personal thought at the day job, though, so often have to "egg on" the muse before and after hours -- a walk, a nap on Sunday afternoon, mind mapping on an unlined newsprint pad. What works for one book doesn't always work for then next.

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    1. I have a very BROAD idea of the story. His conflict, the general story, but no idea exactly how I'm going to tell it. Before the book I have to pitch a proposal to Bethany House and I have never had the whip cracked for abandoning the proposal.

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  12. Mary, You are amazing. I could never be awake as long as you are (and some others here) The good thing about that is you get a lot of writing done. I am so sound asleep I don't even wake up with ideas. LOL

    My best brainstorming is to take a walk. Somehow the activity of walking takes up my left brain and frees the right brain to create stuff.

    I love how we are all different. Makes life as a writer interesting.

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    1. Sleep is good, Sandra. It's a blessing. CHERISH IT!!!

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  13. I usually brainstorm when I am quiet like soaking in the tub. But I have also woken from a dream that was so vivid and thought now that would make a great story and even had a working title. I jotted down the thoughts and am saving it until I finish one of the three I have in progress.

    I have also had things happen in real life and have thought now that would make a good story. Perhaps I need a journal just to write all these little snippets down so I can find them when I need them, Hmm today is a staples run. We don't have a staples in our town so once a month I take a trip with my friends to the closest staples an hour away. I turn in ink cartridges and am now up to the level to turn in 20 cartridges each month and in return have $40 to spend on what I want.

    Have a good day everyone!

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    1. Wilani, you dreamed a book? That's so cool. I have done that ONCE in my life. And I still think it'd make a good book. But man oh man is it ever NOT about cowboys.
      I've absolutely had something in real life inspire a book.

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  14. I enjoyed reading your post! How the mind works is intriguing. I find myself brainstorming at night too but haven't called it that before. If only I could just get those ideas on paper, it would be more productive for me. Perhaps I should write it all down and go back to bed a little calmer like the "experts" say.

    I have enjoyed your books so your own brainstorming seems to work well!

    Have a wonderful day writing. I will have to remember to look for the proposal when this book comes out as it should be a good one!

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    1. I find writing affects me like a dose of caffeine. It wakes me wide up (better than caffeine honestly) For me (again JUST for me, I speak for no one else) most electronic screen activity is bad late at night.

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  15. Fun to read about your brainstorming "technique," Mary! But when I have tried to brainstorm a story or scene at night when I can't sleep, it just gets my brain even more wired. My way of fighting insomnia is to make up stories in my head that I will NEVER EVER write. They are purely fantastical entertainment, no logic to them, and no pressure at all, which is why they can bore me into sleep.

    Mostly I brainstorm while at my computer. If I don't know what happens next in a scene, I just stare out the window and watch the trees wafting in the breeze. Eventually an idea begins to form.

    Or . . . I check email. Visit Facebook or Seekerville. Comb Twitter feeds. Make a snack. Throw a load of laundry in the washer.

    You get the picture.

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    1. Myra! I love this. I had such wild dreams last night about a haunted house or something like that, very vivid except now I can't remember them. But I woke up and mulled the dream over and couldn't figure out how to make it a book. Cowboy or not.

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  16. MARY SAID: "It's when my mind is calm that I can brainstorm and sleep. Yes, my books put me to sleep.<<<< A line to think over and maybe delete later!"

    LOL ... since it's a dreaded Monday in my household (when my hubby lays low and is extra sweet) I needed that laugh, Mare, so THANK YOU!!

    But unlike you, I canNOT go to sleep if I am brainstorming. All it does is rev me up and keep the thoughts churning into the wee hours, which I can't afford. So I generally avoid brainstorming at night unless I go to bed early, which gives me more time to kill before I need to actually sleep.

    Nope, my brainstorming best comes on the treadmill, where thoughts ping-pong in my brain like an old-fashioned pinball machine, idea after idea, dialogue after dialogue, ricocheting off each other until ... DING-DING-DING!!! I come up with a winning plot or line or chapter.

    So much so that once I was taking a stress test on a treadmill in a doc's office, running for twenty minutes (the latter half uphill) before I was able to get my heart rate up. I learned two things that day. 1.) The tech asked me if I was a marathon runner, to which I responded with something like, "Is that a joke?" followed by very loud laughter. Apparently I must have large lungs according to that woman, which is not exactly something one can see and/or brag about. And 2.) My creative juices were flowing soooo strongly during that test that I think I may have come up with an entire chapter -- verbatim! ;) When I asked the tech why that was, she said walking boosts creative thinking and guess what? Stanford agrees!

    Stanford researchers have actually confirmed that walking boosts creative inspiration. You see, they examined creativity levels of people while they walked versus while they sat and found that a person's creative output increased by an average of 60 percent when walking.

    WOW. Who knew? Well, my stress tech, apparently, and now me and everyone reading this comment too. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. I've had people say physical activity helps them brainstorm. I knew someone who kept knitting right beside her while she typed and when she ran out of ideas or was stumped on a scene, she'd grab the knitting, which she could almost do with her eyes closed, and let her mind wander until she figured out what to do next.

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  17. I have come up with some brilliant ideas and lines while lying in bed trying to fall asleep (especially when I was writing papers for college and had just quit typing for the night). But then I learned if I didn't write them down immediately, even if I repeated them in my head over and over to work out the exact wording, there's a good chance they'd be gone by morning. So ever since I have kept a notebook by my bed, and pray I'll be able to read what I wrote come morning. And usually, once I've written it down so that I no longer stress over trying to remember my brilliant thought, I actually fall asleep pretty quickly.

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    1. Great idea, Rachael. Was it Helen that kept a pen light by her bed for just this reason?
      Anyone who is struggling with new ideas, new plots, should try all these different things. Hopefully you'll find the one that works for you...or create your own.

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  18. I cracked up at "bitter insomniac torment." I get ideas mostly alone, listening to music. Sometimes while driving alone which might be dangerous. I get sparks for ideas when I'm stuck from other writers. They can be very helpful. I may not use what they suggest, but it gets the wheels turning.

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    1. Janet, so often when I've brainstormed with groups, I get ideas, then when I start to work those ideas warp into some completely other idea. So though I don't use those ideas, they become a jumping off spot that takes me where I want to be.

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  19. Enjoyable read this morning, Mary. Fun to see how everyone approaches brainstorming!

    When I was teaching elementary school we taught children "how to" brainstorm to solve a problem...it was kind of a fun method. I'd set the timer for three minutes and they would shout out ideas and I'd write as fast as I could. So many of them, even as young as second grade, would raise objections to a thought before I'd finish writing it. I'd have to remind them that we'll get back to discussing the feasibility when we finished the list. When the timer went off, we'd go back over each idea and evaluate it. They were quite creative and the solutions were satisfactory because they'd come up with the idea!

    I realized I'd been doing this my whole life to find solutions to lots of issues...but didn't know it was something that could be "taught!"

    It's hard for me when writing because I can imagine SO many good ideas, scenes, choices, etc. just picking one to go with is difficult!!

    I'm mostly a loner brainstormer for my own "stuff", but can, when it's someone else's problem or issue work with others. (I know how to get along and cooperate...LOL)

    Thanks again for a fun morning read!

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    1. So often when I'm talking with my daughters, their spouses My Cowboy, grandkids, we'll start talking aobut what to do about something. And we get a little wild, which I think HELPS brainstorming, but I've got one daughter who, when someone tossed out an outrageous idea, has thie really DOUBTFULL tone and says, "Uh, this is brainstorming, there are no wrong answers." And it's just her way of saying, "That is ridiculous."
      And when she says that we all crack up. She's so funny. That, "Uh, this is brainstorming..." comment of hers is just now a family joke.

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    2. Love it!! And, that your family can laugh about her clarifying the reality of the situation!! I have one young grandson that can only go so far with outrageous thinking...then he says, "But Nammer, you know Dinosaurs can't really talk."

      I forgot to say in my first comment I'd like to be entered in the drawing! Thanks!

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  20. MARY, as a reader I've wondered how authors come up with their ideas. This is a great post!

    Please enter me in the drawing.

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    1. You're in Caryl! I'm so excited for this book t release. It seems like it's been a LONG wait.

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  21. I love brainstorming with other writers. In fact, I met with two writing friends on Tuesday and we did just that. It's so energizing! I enjoy the dynamic and the creativity that comes from mentioning ideas and then building one idea upon another. They helped me with some plot points for my next Amish Protectors story, and we also worked on one of the other author's works in progress.

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  22. Mary, if I think about my story at night, I never relax enough to fall asleep. I'll just keep working over everything in my mind and stay awake FOREVER!

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    1. Exactly, Debby! I'm the same way!

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    2. Well, see. We are all different. It's almost strange how true that is. You'd think there'd be a system but there isn't.

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    3. Whatever you are doing, Ladies, keep it up. I love your work.

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  23. I was laughing at your juggling comment. I juggle tasks that I need to do each day...always trying to keep all the balls, AKA tasks, in the air! :)

    But when I'm debating which plot points to include in my story, I sort oranges as if in the grocery store. I select an orange, then turn it over and check for color, firmness, lack of bruises or marks, etc. I do that when I'm shopping...but I do the same mentally when I'm debating about which direction a story should go. I visually see those oranges. So guess we all have some type of sorting process...

    Hope you can keep your balls in the air today as I sort for the best oranges...

    Hugs!

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    1. LOL! My juggling would probably bruise your oranges. But the idea sorting, I love that. I think you're much more aware of what you want to accomplish than I am.
      I'm so seat-of-the-pants that I don't really recognize firmness, lack of bruising or makes when I probably should. :)

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  24. Good morning Seekerville!
    Thanks for sharing, Mary. It's fun to get a peek inside your process and know I'm not the only one who hits brick walls sometimes.

    I usually brainstorm with me and a pen and notebook. If I get stuck I talk it out with God and my mom (who is super supportive and amazing, btw). But ever since I've read Debra Dixon's book, it always starts with GMC.

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    1. How fun to have your mom in it with you. I should try that, see if Mom has some ideas.

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    2. Mom tends to just say over and over, "I don't know how you do it."
      Maybe she could see the process a little better and we could have some fun doing it.

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  25. Thank you for the insight on your writing process Mary. So love reading your books. Keep up the wonderful writing.
    Cheryl Baranski

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    1. Thanks, Cheryl. Thanks for stopping in!

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  26. I brainstorm while driving to work, I've got an app I can talk into to take down my notes. Also during a bath, it's silly but I always get a flurry of ideas during that time: )

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    1. I like the idea of talking out loud, Stacy. I've heard of people writing their books like that and having a computer program that converts it to words typed.
      I should try the bathtub idea.

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  27. Hi Mary,

    My ideas seem to come on the shower or right before I fall asleep. Please enter me in the drawing for your latest release. There is still room on YOUR bookshelf.:)

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    1. Several have mentioned in the bath or shower, Jewell. To me that sounds like ideas come when we are relaxing. Is that a fair connection? Bathtub, relaxing?
      Not sure but it happens enough there's something going on.

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  28. Mary, what a fun post. It's fun to read how you brainstorm.

    I love brainstorming with friends. When I am in a big fat bind, I usually call one particular friend, and she helps me brainstorm through my problem. One time, we came up with (she came up with) an ending for a character that I hated. So, i took a walk and my mind figured out how to make the ending I wanted for my character to come about. :)

    I've brainstormed stories in groups, and i love that too. All those brains coming at a story from different angles. I've gotten some great stuff through that.

    My brain also brainstorms when I'm lying in bed at night. Sometimes, one little nuance will come to mind and I HAVE to get up and write it down. It'll surely be gone in the morning if I don't. :)

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    1. Jeanne it sounds like you've got a rich brainstorming life. SWEET!!!

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  29. I loved that second title for this post. You should have gone with it! lol. I'd love to help brainstorm. It is so much fun. As long as it isn't something I'm working on. I can throw out ideas, but then mine don't seem to work. I usually just brainstorm silently, or I'll ask a what-if question to my son who looks at me like what do you want to know that for? Washing dishes or going for a run help me too.

    I love your books and would love a signed copy of Long Time Gone!

    Happy brainstorming!

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    1. Sally, You're SON? How cool. How old is he? A young mind might give a book such twists, they come from a whole different world.
      I've got an 8 year old granddaughter. I wonder if she'd ever have time for old grandma?

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    2. He is 23. He is very supportive of my writing and has actually read two whole stories and a part of one I was working on. He is so fun to watch while he is reading it. I like for him to read in front of me so I can catch his facial expressions lol. He's like no mama they can't do that yet. Or, he wouldn't be thinking that mama. When I get published he will be one of my fans who gets a special nod. My daughter and husband, they don't want to read what I write. Not sure what's up with that lol. I'll bet she'd love to spend time with you working out stories. Try it and see! Then give her a cameo in one of your books.

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  30. Happy brainstorming, Ms. Connealy!
    I love your books! I've posted several reviews of your books on my blog- Blondeclassic.blogspot.com....don't feel I did your books justice!
    Would be thrilled to get an autographed copy of the newest Cimarron Legacy series! I'm really enjoying it!
    Blessing to you & your family! ☺

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    1. Ah, Amilee, you sweet thing. I'll go check out your blog. Thanks so much for reviewing my books. I really appreciate it!
      Blessings to you & your family, too. Thanks for stopping in to comment. Your name's in the drawing. We announce winners on Saturday for the whole week, so stop back.

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  31. I find the whole topic of brainstorming fascinating...and highly scary. If it's with other people. I don't think I've ever brainstormed with an actual human. My dogs have given me excellent insight though. :-)

    I tend to brainstorm when I Walk -- really creative when my feet are engaged but I never remember it all when I stop moving. :-( And nowadays I don't move that much so double :-( :-(

    I also like writing random thoughts on index cards and sticking them on the wall and periodically holding a tactile brainstorming where I move the index cards around into different scenarios.

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    1. Kav, I've heard of that, putting ideas for scenes on cards and shuffling them. IN a way I guess that's what I did by backing up to my characters proposal and stopping it, but not cutting the scene, just pushing it on down the page to hook up to it later.

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  32. Mary, your subtitle totally cracked me up!! LOL

    I brainstorm in different ways. With critique partners, while I'm driving (look out on the roadways!), and jotting notes on paper (or using a mind map app). I brainstormed my last novel by email with the Seekers! :)

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    1. Are you jotting the notes on paper while you drive, Missy? 'cuz ... YIKES!

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  33. Hi Mary
    I can so see the juggling thing your brain does. Yep, can picture it in my mind and it makes perfect sense to me. Is that a good thing, or bad thing? I think my mind works similarly to yours - I just don't get the words written because I tend to get side-tracked by Guppy.
    I tend to brainstorm in the car on the way to work, or as I go to sleep. One of these days I'll actually keep a notepad beside the bed to scribble late night thoughts. I do tend to remember them anyway, but occasionally I wake up and don't. :( I like seeing how different people are with how they develop ideas. I tend to be a loner brainstormer. I have been known, on occasion, to take an idea someone has tossed out and run with it. After I ask them if it is okay if I use that idea, that is.

    Loved your post. Love your books even more!

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    1. This is book two of my series including heroine Deb Harkness. She's married now. Her name is Deb Riley. Book #2 is Gwen Harkness but she's on the rode to matrimony too, and there the Harkness name is forever gone from this series.
      But it was a great name while it lasted and Deb's still there. btw she witnessed a murder and now someone's trying to kill her.

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    2. way cool... gonna HAVE to read the book now. not that I don't already read all your books :)

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  34. Eeek! The last thing I want is people throwing ideas at me. I'm guessing that means I don't brainstorm with groups. Actually, I don't think I brainstorm. Ideas/solutions/characters/plots percolate while I'm busy with other things. Hmm. Is that my explanation for being pre-occupied? "I'm busy writing in my thoughts." :-)

    Looking forward to your newest book, Mary!

    Nancy C

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    1. From now on, Nancy C, when I'm zoned out daydreaming and someone says, "Mary, Mary, hey, Mary..."
      Sorry, I'm going to tell them I'm brainstorming.

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  35. I will admit (sadly) that I've never brainstormed with a group - - maybe in the future I'll do that! Sweet Debby Giusti gave me a wonderful idea for adding a major twist to the very first story I ever wrote (thanks, Debby!). We were meeting for lunch, and she kindly asked about my WIP at that time. When I told her that an editor suggested it needed a major conflict, Debby gave me the perfect idea!
    Thanks for this post, Mary - - and I'll confess I'm looking forward to a future post from you on your secret desire to be a juggling clown, LOL! ;)
    Hugs, Patti Jo

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    1. I'm getting my big red nose ready right now, Patti Jo.
      Debby's brilliant. You were blessed to get her mind on your work for a bit!!! :D

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  36. I don't brainstorm but I do have nights that I can't go to sleep because my brain won't shut off long enoght to go to sleep.

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    1. Quilt Lady, what do you think that is? Because that is EXACTLY what my head does...just some nights. And it's not necessarily after....(name that excuse) too much caffeine, too hectic of a day, too much on my mind..big day tomorrow...

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  37. MARY, I don't brainstorm while trying to go to sleep. By that time I'm brain dead. I prefer brainstorming with others, especially writers, usually by email. Occasionally I brainstorm by myself, typing possibilities. When I get stuck on a plot point, I explain the problem to my DH on our walks. He's given me some good ideas, but sometimes he says, "Just make something up." Now why didn't I think of that. :-)

    Janet

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    1. Ah sleep. Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care, The death of each day's life, sore labor's bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course, Chief nourisher in life's feast.

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    2. I actually think about this sentence when I lay awake (Lie awake?) at night. Yep, me daydreaming in Shakespeare.

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  38. I can't wait!!! I'm so excited! I love all of your books!!! :)

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    1. Brandon, thank you! I really appreciate you saying so.

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  39. I don't think I can brainstorm in my sleep!! jarning67(at)hotmail.com

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    1. Me neither. Although I did dream that one book!

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  40. Mary, fun post. I do find walking to be a great way to get ideas. Many times that gets me unstuck from something I'm trying to figure out. I also brainstorm with pen and paper. That is something I can do during the day sometimes when I am substitute teaching. If the kids are just working on something, I can sit at the desk and think and jot down ideas. Doesn't always work well, but sometimes it does.

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    1. Hi, Nebraska Girl. Walking? You know, a nice walk wouldn't do me any harm!!!

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  41. My favorite time/place/way to brainstorm is upstairs pacing in my room with the music playing, all by myself, and mumbling incoherent things so that if someone were to be in the room they would probably think I am crazy. Just going back and forth across the space of my bed room and probably playing the same song over and over again while thinking up whole scenes and conversations most of which I then promptly forget (at least I forget the perfect wording I have). I really need to start taking notes while I brainstorm, but I am a terribly disorganized person and so have never been good at taking coherent notes, let alone the fact that it is really hard to take notes while pacing.

    I try brainstorming when I have insomnia too (though generally I tend to force myself to STOP brainstorming because it only ends up keeping me up more), I also try to brainstorm while showering, and sometimes it works, but there's a 50/50 chance it won't and I'll end up thinking of something else because I'm a scatterbrain and I really need music to help keep me focused.

    When I have trouble coming up with a scene then sometimes I'll talk to my sister about it while we clean the kitchen (or before we go to bed) and brainstorm with her about it, but she gets frustrated if I talk too long about my stories, and has a nasty tendency to switch mid-brainstorm session to something about HER book.

    I would really like to be entered for a chance to win a copy of your book. Thanks!

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    1. Nicky, look at all the things you've listed. Different things at different times. Alone or with someone. This shows a whole lot of flexibility. It is excellent.

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  42. Hi Mary! I usually brainstorm alone while doing dishes or driving. But my husband, kids and grandkids are always willing to brainstorm if I need them, and I truly appreciate that. I love your subhead! It made me think of the time that an editor told me to shorten my headline or add "headline continued on Page 12" LOL. Thanks for a fun post, and congratulations on your new release!!

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    1. LOL I really DID have that as my headline at first. I went for the practical and now see? I do NOT have that classically weird headline to talk about. RATS!!!

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  43. I absolutely love your books! They have a great sense of humor and down to earth. I am always looking forward to what comes next. I have all of your book series and the collection of stories that you and other authors writes together. I can't wait to have this book! - Tabitha Muncy

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    1. Tabitha, thanks so much. It's so nice to hear that.

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  44. I think I brainstorm in two ways. One, I brainstorm by actually writing. Once I write, I can think about it and then what I really want to say comes out. I also brainstorm when I drive, and I seem to be in the car at lot.

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    1. Walt a lot of my ideas come while I'm writing, that's very true. In fact MOST of my ideas come that way.

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  45. I am not a writer. I read.
    I enjoy reading your books Mary. Always so fun to read them.
    Thank you!!

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    1. Hi mbarri! I LOVE readers. WE all do here at Seekerville! Welcome!

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  46. Mary, Fun post and I love the comments. For the record, I'm an ISTJ. I'm a plotter so in the week to two weeks where I plot and plan and meet the characters and figure out what I need to research, I guess that's when I do a lot of brainstorming (cars watch out, people at the gym-please excuse my talking to myself while I'm on the treadmill, kids-go ahead and put the pizza place on speed dial) and then even throughout first draft phase even though I'm a plotter I still look for little surprises.

    One side note-I just finished Petticoat Ranch this weekend and loved it. Actually I had started Doctor in Petticoats, found out Sophie's story came first, and had to go back and read Petticoat Ranch first, and I'm very glad I did.

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    1. Tanya, cool that you read Petticoat Ranch. You might enjoy Sophies Daughter...which begins with Doctor in Petticoats...more if you also read the Montana Marriages series, because a bunch of THOSE characters are also in the Sophie's Daughters series!!!

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    2. TANYA, you're an ISTJ! We're only different by one letter :-) I'm an intuitive.

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  47. Sometimes when I type a letter the words are coming faster than I can type so when I re-read it I add more words or just start all over again because I have forgotten how to spell a specific word that I want to use. Or really it just does not sound good to me no longer so I just start all over with different words.

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    1. millie, that's called revisions. And one of my favorite sayings is 'The best writing is re0writing."

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  48. I have been waiting to read this book, i have read just about all of your books, love them.

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    1. Coming soon, Sandra. Sorry the wait was so long.

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  49. I just want to tell you, Mary, that both I and my mother (she's 90) and her friends all LOVE. YOUR. BOOKS. I enjoyed this post and am eagerly awaiting LONG TIME GONE. Please add my name to the hat!

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    1. Hi Marianne! Thanks so much for stopping in. And thank your mom and her friends for reading my books. I really appreciate it! You're in the drawing!!!

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  50. I like to brainstorm at my desk in the quiet, that's how I work best

    Linda Marie Finn

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  51. I love your books, Mary!

    Mostly I brainstorm by myself. Ideally, in front of a blank computer document but paper is great too. I prefer the computer because then it's already typed (so saves a step).

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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  52. Hi Mary. Sorry to hear that you're a weirdo. That makes two of us. In fact, I'm currently on chapter 21, but something was niggling in the back of my mind about the first chapter. Ah-hah. Fifteen minutes after lights-out last night (after playing various scenarios in my head), the light bulb went on. Then, of course, I was so excited that I could barely sleep, anxious to get it down on paper. Blessings to you and, by the way, I LOVE The Cimarron Legacy Series!

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  53. Mary I love your books. Right now I'm reading Out of Control. I can't wait till Long Time Gone comes out. I like to brainstorm ideas but I never follow up on them sadly. Someday I might follow up on my brainstorm ideas.

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  54. My favorite brainstorming partner is my daughter. She gets me and isn't afraid to throw out really ridiculous ideas. And she isn't ready to lock me away when she hears mine either. I love the way ideas build on each other and suddenly the ridiculous might even seem possible. Our favorite place to brain storm is in her truck driving down the road. Our favorite "tool"- Starbucks sugar free vanilla latte breve

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  55. I find that inspiration strikes me in the moments before I fall asleep and when I'm dozing before I fully wake. Sometimes I have to force myself out of bed to write down my ideas because I know I'll forget them otherwise :)

    Please throw my name in the hat for your new book!

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  56. I would love to win your new book. I love to brainstorm with others. Especially if it is not for something I am writing. :-)
    Becky

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  57. I tend to "solo brainstorm" and yes, these thoughts often keep me awake.
    Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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