“The First Twenty-Five Minutes of the Night” may sound like the title of a story, but it is not. This is the name I (informally) give to one of my more unusual, but more effective, brainstorming ideas.
In a nutshell, the whole idea is that once I get in bed for the night, after I finish my prayers, I take twenty-five minutes to tell myself a story, usually something I make up on the spot. Many of these stories suck, but many times, I get good ideas from these sessions. The whole idea of Evaira originally came from this, and most of the Evaira stories I posted were told in one of these sessions at one point. A lot of Wiz stories were also made this way.
The whole idea is generally just to give myself a story. I may have spoken many times that I do not believe ideas can be forced out, and this idea seems rather contrary to that, but it’s actually quite effective. I also find it quite relaxing.
For one thing, I generally reuse characters and settings in these sessions. A lot of the time, I tell myself longer stories over the course of many nights. Other times, I tell stories set in somebody else’s universe, or my version of it, a form of fan fiction. Sometimes, I even retell stories that I heard elsewhere, which helps me better understand and dissect its plot, strengths, and weaknesses.
Also, I acknowledge that most of these stories suck, and I probably have no reason to retell them again after the night is over. But many times, I find a diamond in the rough, a story worth remembering and writing down. The whole idea is to come up with something, make sure I keep my creative mind flowing. Even the stories that suck may help me direct my thoughts to a good idea.
My only rules are that I have to try to tell the story for close to twenty-five minutes (if I finish it early, I try to retell pieces of it to add more detail), I have to end it conclusively, and it must be coherent. Also, I may fall asleep or get too tired to continue during the story. If this happens, I generally try to finish it later.
I originally tried to come up with the stories spontaneously, but eventually found myself trying to think of ideas for “first twenty-five minutes of the night” stories when I’m bored, or plan out what stories I’m going to tell for several nights. I know it doesn’t matter as most of the stories will never be retold, but I can’t help myself. Besides, the planning makes it seem just a bit more like my real writing.
I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember. I think I started back in fourth or fifth grade, before I had done any real serious writing projects. If I remember correctly, it was just a form of make-believe back then, an outlet for my overactive imagination. But I’ve done it consistently ever since, only skipping nights infrequently.
I can do it so consistently just by thinking of very raw or basic ideas, like what-if scenarios, short scenes that I think might be amusing, curiosities about other stories, or characters and character archetypes I want to explore further. Then, I just build off that.
By simply telling the stories, it helps me to brainstorm in a low hassle way, that has definitely given me some great ideas. Anyway, I have to go prepare for the first twenty-five minutes of tonight. White Rakogis is now signing off!