“…I began to make lists of titles, to put down long lines of nouns. These lists were provocations, finally, that caused my better stuff to surface. I was feeling my way toward something honest, hidden under the trapdoor on the top of my skull.
The list ran something like this:
The Lake. The Night. The Crickets. The Ravine. The Attic. The Basement. The Trapdoor. The Baby. The Crowd. The Night Train. The Fog Horn. The Scythe. The Carnival. The Carousel. The Dwarf. The Mirror Maze. The Skeleton.
I was beginning to see a pattern in the list, in these words that I had simply flung forth on paper, trusting my subconscious to give bread, as it were, to the birds.”
From Run Fast, Stand Still… Zen in the Art of Writing.
Bradbury goes onto to say he continued to make lists and from those lists he would choose a noun, and from those nouns would germinate a story. This type of brainstorming is very appealing. I find that stories can hit us in the most inconvenient moments. It might be the slant of light blanketing a group of children waiting in line for an ice cream, or a conversation you overhear, a news story, or better yet childhood memories. A line, a character, a scene will flash in my mind and I jot it down for later. I make a list.