Brandon Sanderson has been a great influence on me as a writer. He often talks about a brainstorming habit where he consciously collects ideas in order to use them on some future date.

He collects three main ideas. (1) Setting Hooks: what if every day it was foggy. (Mistborn) (2) Plot hooks: what if an idealist son of the world’s most powerful mob tries to leave the family business. (Godfather) (3) Character hooks: what if a character deserted the army and took on a new life. (Mad Men)

And even though I haven’t yet been able to make use of this habit in my own writing life, I haven’t forgotten it, as it seems incredibly valuable. While I’ve been thinking about storytelling, I realized this habit can be applied to different storytellers, and I could collect storyTeller Hooks. Anytime I think of someone that I want to hear a story from, I’ll write them down.

What if Gandalf told me a story? How would he tell it? I imagine some countryside. Gandalf is walking through long grass. We are walking at his side. And he tells us about one of the times he went and saved the world. And he tells us about fighting mystical beings and the simple pieces of wisdom he learned along the way. And meanwhile, as he tells us, we are slowly walking with him; the environment around us transforms along with the tale.

When you think about storytelling from this point of view, the writing becomes infused with that voice. I will start collecting storyteller, and someday I might find myself needing some inspiration. Who do I want to hear a story from today?