Hi, I'm author/coach Doug Kurtz of Write Life Coaching. Ready to open your creative floodgates with a Cloudburst brainstorm?
This powerful technique can be used to solve writing problems, generate new ideas, drill into existing ideas, and more. Should take about 20 minutes to learn and apply.
GO!
 
What's your name, fellow writer? *

 
First, let's get clear about your intention for this session. Need to solve a story problem? Come up with new ideas or material? Drill into existing material? Something else?

Succinctly and specifically state your intention, phrasing it like this: "Today I intend to ..." *

For example, "Today I intend to figure out why my protagonist robs the 7-Eleven" or "Today I intend to generate new ideas for my cookbook."
 
Okay, here's the current iteration of your intention:

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To get the best results from your Cloudburst, rephrase your intention as a question. Make the language more detailed and specific, if necessary.
*

For example, "Why does my protagonist rob the 7-eleven?" or "What are some new ideas that will improve my cookbook?"
 
The question you're answering with the Cloudburst should be as clear and specific as possible. Here's yours:

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If this sounds right and specifically addresses your intention, check "yes" to move on.  If it doesn't ring true or feels ambiguous, check "no" and we'll cycle through the process one more time.
*

     
 
Okay, let's try again.

Think about exactly what you need to accomplish, then phrase it as specifically and succinctly as possible: "Today I intend to..."
*

For example, "Today I intend to figure out my protagonist's motivation for leaving her husband," or "Today I intend to drill into some childhood memories of my mother's alcoholism."
 
Okay, here's the new iteration of your intention:

 {{answer_34046667}}

Now, rephrase it as a question, tweaking the language if necessary.
*

For example, "What motivates my protagonist to leave her husband right now in the story?" or "What are the most resonant childhood memories I have of my mother's alcoholism?"
 
Look good now?

{{answer_34046668}}
*

     
 
Okay, {{answer_34046663}}, you're ready to rumble!

The cloud below is the controlling image for our session. Anything and everything you need to answer your question and satisfy your intention is waiting at the cloud's ripe-to-burst core.

Ready to unleash some creative rain?

 
Cloudbursting works by generating lists of questions from prompts I'll give you in a minute. The right questions can release a deluge of creative breakthroughs--and that's what we're looking for.

For each prompt, list as many questions as you can. Work quickly and fluidlywithout pausing to judge what you're doingThis will put you into a stream-of-consciousness flow state, quiet your critical mind and let your creative genius emerge unimpeded.

 
Some of the questions you list will be ridiculous, some will be decent and some might be brilliant. It's the brilliant ones we're after, but the Cloudburst won't release them unless you let some duds fly, too.

Even if a prompt seems inapplicable to your intention, stretch yourself to come up with something. 
Generate as many questions as you can from each prompt, beginning with the prompt word, until you're tapped out.

For example, if the prompt word is "How," word your questions like this: "How will my protagonist rob the 7-Eleven?" or "How will I know which recipes to exclude from my cookbook?"
 
In the text field below, without worrying about spelling, punctuation, line breaks or anything else, brainstorm as many questions as you can beginning with the word
*

 
Same deal for the next prompt, {{answer_34046663}}. Move quickly and fluidly so your floodgates burst open. *

 
Keep your mind open and the questions flowing. *

 
Now you're on autopilot: *

 
Keep your energy up, {{answer_34046663}}, you're almost there. *

 
One more and then you're done. *

 
Nice work, {{answer_34046663}}! 

Now that your creative cloud has burst, it's time to sort through the hailstones for a diamond in the rough.

You're about to see the questions you listed for each prompt. Your job is to reduce them down to a maximum of two questions per list.

 
Here are your "How?" questions:

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Choose the best two and enter them in the text field with a line break between them, rephrasing for clarity.
*

 
Here are your "Who?" questions:

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Choose the best two and enter them in the text field with a line break between them, rephrasing for clarity.
*

 
Here are your "Why?" questions:

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Choose the best two and enter them in the text field with a line break between them, rephrasing for clarity.
*

 
Here are your "What?" questions:

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Choose the best two and enter them in the text field with a line break between them, rephrasing for clarity.
*

 
Here are your "What if?" questions:

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Choose the best two and enter them in the text field with a line break between them, rephrasing for clarity.
*

 
Here are your "So what?" questions:

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Choose the best two and enter them in the text field with a line break between them, rephrasing for clarity.
*

 
Hate to do this to you, but we have to cut your questions down even further. Here they are:

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{{answer_34046679}}
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Choose a maximum of three brilliant questions and enter them in the text field with line breaks between them. Reword them for clarity, if necessary. It's okay to choose two from the same prompt.
*

 
The storm is over, {{answer_34046663}}! Here's what rained down:

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Sometimes the answers you need to fulfill your intention are implicit in the questions without further work.

Other times you might have to get busy and answer the questions directly. Freewriting is a great way to do this. If no answer reveals itself, plug the best question into another Cloudburst and work from there. 

 
Cloudbursting takes practice and patience to master. If you take the time to become expert, the technique will provide you with endless breakthroughs, insights and solutions for your writing and other creative endeavors. 

Thanks for trying a Cloudburst! I hope the technique proves as useful for your writing as it has for mine. If so, please share it freely and widely.

For more writing and creativity tools, visit www.writelifecoaching.com.
GO AGAIN!
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