There are three main obstacles to our writing goals: Perfectionism. Fear. Procrastination. When we develop an ongoing creative process, we can sidestep all three. Our world building becomes an exciting place that we desire to spend time in, instead of an overwhelming dilemma.
Questions: Who, what, when, where, why, and how.
Exercise one: Go back to your free-write and apply these questions to the character of the city. What do you know? What don’t you know? Make a list for further research on missing parts.
Letter: Write a short letter either from your character or to your character.
Exercise two: Choose the city you loved the most from the earlier list and have your character write to a person in that city, or receive a letter from a friend visiting that city. Or make it impersonal as if a business assignment.
Choose a few details from each of your exercises, mixing and matching theme, setting, and memory. Now write up a short episode as a brief memory of your character. It can be either from the POV of this was once her home or as a visit to a strange place.
If you started with an imaginary place in the first city free-write, it now has real footprints.
If you chose a real place, it now has a personal emotional connection to a real person, and if you also added some details from another city, then you have a real place—only different.
Share: Which brainstorm techniques worked best for you? Which were the most difficult? Why?