Posted by: nancyisanders | April 6, 2015

Chapter Book: Let’s Brainstorm for Ideas!

In the early years of my writing career, I didn’t know about brainstorming.

I thought as writers we were supposed to show up at our computer in the morning, flex our fingers, and start to type.

That’s what a lot of people say, right?

Well it didn’t work for me. I spent countless frustrating mornings wondering WHAT I was supposed to type.

And then I discovered brainstorming.

Now brainstorming is one of my favorite things to do as a writer. Why? Because it gives me gobs of gooey and delicious ideas so that I’m itching to write and can’t stop from typing!

How do I brainstorm, you may ask?

ClICK HERE to read a funny article about the process.

Do I stare into space and wait for the “muse” to strike me? (Personally I think lightning has more of a chance to strike a writer than the muse.)

No, I get busy and look at things.

So to start our very first brainstorming session to think of an idea for the chapter book you want to work on, I’ll share exactly the very first thing I did when I got my idea.

I looked at other current early chapter books and just enjoyed reading through the opening pages of a variety of titles on Amazon. I jotted down any ideas that popped into my head without committing to any of them.

So here’s a list of current early chapter books you can browse through, too. Click on the LOOK INSIDE feature and read through the pages that pop up or listen to the audio preview. Get your notebook and jot down any idea that comes to you for your own potential chapter book even if you think it stinks right now. You never know. Have fun browsing!

Early Chapter Books with a similar word count to our mentor text, Stink #1:
Anna Hibiscus: 7577 words
Happy Birthday Bad Kitty: 4097 words
Ivy and Bean: 7828 words
Jake Drake Bully Buster: 8844 words
The Stories Julian Tells: 6268 words

Longer chapter books to look up if you’re interested:
Encyclopedia Brown Boy Detective: 10392 words
Frankly Frannie: 11400 words
Magic Tree House High Time for Heroes: 15045 Words
Nancy Clancy and the Secret of the Silver Key: 13618 words
Secrets According to Humphrey: 27000+ words


  1. When is YOUR Humphrey going to write a book?

    • He he he…I’ve thought about it…so maybe one day!!!!!

  2. Thanks for your explicit directions–especially your technique for using Amazon’s preview for mentor research. Brilliant! Here’s a post on brainstorming that I also found helpful.

    • Thanks for sharing, Pat!!! So helpful!!!!

  3. Finished reading Stink Book 1. I was so surprised that Newt didn’t make it. I thought for sure he’d show up later somehow. I’ve also been looking at mentor texts. I seem to be drawn to the books that aren’t entirely realistic. I may have an idea, but plan to keep brainstorming. Thanks a bunch Nancy!

    • Oh I’m glad you finished reading the book! I haven’t finished it yet…will be going to pick it up today!

      • Oh no! I thought you had read it! You can delete my comment if you want, so I don’t ruin the surprise for anyone else. Woops!

      • Oh that’s okay! Your comment made me so curious I had to start reading it as soon as I got it today. The plot twist surprised me, too!

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