So I spent a couple more hours doing some research related to setting last night, and as I was reading about crime and punishment in the Middle Ages I found two intriguing facts. At that point I stopped typing and looked at my husband. "Hey, I think there's an idea for a new romance book in this--Listen." I told him what I had read and what connection I thought could link a couple of characters.
He nodded and added to it verbally (by this point I was jotting down notes). His thoughts sparked new situations in my own mind and then he threw out what quickly shaped into a potential subplot and we wove it all together. Right now the whole thing's hashed out in a simple chronological (and skeletal) format with nothing hidden from the reader (totally not how the final text would be). Characters' names? Man A, Man B, Woman A, Priest, Captain of the Guard, Marauders. All the basics, right?
In short, I enjoy tossing ideas around with my husband for anything longer than a general short story. And he's a pretty good litmus test. He reads voraciously (okay, so they're audio books because he drives an absurd distance to and from work each day) but he knows what he likes and what seems to work in several genres. My point is this, if you have someone you trust to do some brainstorming with, embrace the opportunity.
Just remember this key to brainstorming: No idea is wrong or bad in a brainstorm. All you're really doing is dumping out the contents of your brain to sift through later. No criticism allowed!
Well, back to researching and writing Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills...