Idea Sparking: How to Brainstorm Conflict in Your Novel by Michelle Lim

Idea Sparking (cover) by Michelle Lim

Michelle Lim

Michelle Lim Bio: 


Michelle Lim is the author of the new book Idea Sparking: How to Brainstorm Conflict in Your Novel. Also a romantic suspense author whose manuscripts have earned recognition in The Rattler Contest 2012, the Genesis Contest 2011, and the Frasier Contest in 2010. Michelle is the Brainstorm/Huddle Coach at My Book Therapy and serves as Vice President of MN N.I.C.E., a local chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. Check out her blog at: Thoughts On Plot.


First, Michael thank you so much for inviting me to visit your blog. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you through our local ACFW Chapter, Minnesota N.I.C.E..


Idea Sparking by Michelle Lim Here

For those of you who haven’t heard, during my Idea Sparking: How to Brainstorm Conflict in Your Novel Tour I’m having a drawing for a Free Kindle Paperwhite. For each different blog I visit that you comment on during my tour, you get one entry. Each day I will post any new tour locations on my blog.


Brainstorming is easier in a group, but what do you do when it is just you and your chocolate trying to fill a massive hole in your manuscript? Here is a tip you could try from my new book Idea Sparking: How to Brainstorm Conflict in Your Novel.


Brainstorming Strategy: Secret Sabotage


We have all kinds of secrets that we hide every day, small bits of information that we find embarrassing. Some of these things can interfere with our decisions and our behavior.

Characters have these secrets and we can use them to create unexpected actions to keep other characters from discovering them.

If you are stuck, ask yourself, “What secrets does my character have? What unexpected actions might they take to avoid others discovering these secrets?”

The Secret Sabotage Strategy is covered in more depth in my book, but this is just a glimpse to get you started.

With NanoWrimo just around the corner you may find yourself in situations where brainstorming strategies can get you back on track to your word count goals.

Now it’s your turn. What secrets have you given a character? Or what secret has caused someone you know to change their actions?


Idea Sparking


7 responses to “Idea Sparking: How to Brainstorm Conflict in Your Novel by Michelle Lim”

  1. The Silence of the Lambs (which I don’t recommend for its subject matter) is a book that was so well-written and plotted that I actually “took it apart,” writing outlines of the way the author plotted it, before I wrote my first novel (Latter-day Cipher, Moody 2009.) One of the most impressive things the author did was give the heroine Clarice a secret fear. The antagonist, Hannibal Lecter, finds out what her secret dread is, something that is exemplified by the fact that lambs were slaughtered when she was a child.

    As authors, I think we should try to ferret out what are the secret fears of our characters. For my heroine in LDC, Selonnah, who isn’t a Christian, she feels increasing danger because of some serial crimes, but she also remembers that her father’s lingering illness (and subsequent death) made her feel similarly helpless.

    She doesn’t talk about this fear, but she acts on it (and I hope the reader was drawn into the sense of tension by it.)

    You’ve given me a nudge to make sure that the protagonist in my present WIP needs to have a secret, too. Thank you!

  2. Wow Latayne, great comment. Ew, the whole fear thing in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS made me cringe.

    Thanks for this post Michelle. It’s making me think about my current characters and how their fears can get in the way of them reaching their goals. In my current suspense novel, Brett, a cop, is afraid of getting lost. He has a terrible sense of direction–which can be a bad thing for a cop. Ha!

    Michael – Love your blog and your “grandpa’s heart.” I’m right there with you–only as a “Mimi.” The things kids say… and do… love them!

    Another Michelle

  3. Well, I am just a rookie writer, but in one of my stories, I had a heroine who wanted to get along with humans, so she had to hide her secret (she is a halfling vampie ) 🙂