What the heck is idea bouncing? Did I just make those words up? Maybe. What I'm trying is say is everyone should have someone to bounce their ideas off of. For me, it's my son. He loves talking about movies, scripts, reviews, structure, and character. We have great conversations that revolve around these subjects, but we also love to present our book or movie ideas to each other.
Idea bouncing is so valuable, in my opinion. It has nothing to do with telling someone if their story is good or bad; it's about digging deeper and finding out more. It's something we stop doing as adults. We feel we should only ask why if it's vital. We forget that it's okay to be humbly curious about everything around us.
I say "humbly" because when we ask someone "why," we usually come across in one of two ways; questioning the integrity or innocently curious. I can tell you, if you come off as questioning the integrity of a project someone else created, it will not go well. The purpose of asking why will be smashed into a hundred pieces, and your creative exercise will be over.
Coming across from an innocent, humble perspective means there is no judgment, there is only curiosity. When you ask why from a purely curious position, the world of responses opens up. You will not only be allowing the other person to wander around in their creation and explain their processes and thoughts; you have an excellent chance for learning mounds of new information. The kind of mound that never stops growing like laundry when you have children.
It's incredible what can happen when you spur others on, asking them to continue by sayings, "That was very cool, then what happens, or why does that happen?" It doesn't matter if you don't like what they are saying. What matters is you are learning, and your mind is open to something other than your ideas and programming.
Let's reverse this scenario and put yourself in the position where you are being asked the question. You know, by the tone of voice, posture, and type of question, if your work is being attacked or if the other person is curious and interested. When it's your turn to ask questions, think back to how both of those points of view made you feel.
If you don't have someone to bounce ideas off of, find a group using social media, there are tons out there. If that's not your style, imagine what types of questions others would ask about your character, world you just built, and story as a whole. Think about how you would answer questions by others. Why does your character flinch at a PB&J sandwich? Why would your character be so determined to help someone that just screwed them over? How can people be stuck in bumper to bumper traffic if this is a dystopian world?
Answering questions does a lot for story building. It helps solidify reasonings and possibly contributes to rebuilding. Questions help all of us flesh out our writing pieces and also helps spark bits of creativity.
Asking why and being open to hearing responses from others, makes our brains more susceptible to creative sparks and allows us to walk further into our stories.