A couple of years ago I took a course by Holly Lisle called "How to think Sideways". Holly imparts concepts in wonderfully illustrated detail. One of my favorite things in this course was her use of a mind mapping or bubble flowchart to create an exercise called the Sweet Spot.
I'm Drawn To...
I'm a very visual person and since I love color, I used an online free site http://bubbl.us for creating the chart.
The idea behind the exercise is to take time to figure out all of the ideas, issues, entities, emotions, settings, etc. etc. that make up your core interests. Then use this information to create a grocery list of plot points, ideas or characters.
She even had a us go deeper by creating a sweet spot map for each of these: I fear, I'm drawn to, I love, and I hate...
Here's a partial list of things in my sweet spot for I'm drawn to: moons, space, dragons, individual worth, fairness, humor, community, winter, rain, empowerment, color.
What would you have in your sweet spot as a writer? What things or themes do you gravitate toward as a reader?