For one example, we worked on the concept of developing character interaction within a scene. As noted in the picture, the students and other adults in the session came up with some intriguing characters: Andy, an arsonist firefighter, and his mother, Maude, who deliberately makes cold mashed potatoes as a passive aggressive slight against his unsafe and conflicted career choice. Pretty awesome, huh? We then dropped Andy and Maude into our scene pinball machine and watched as they surprised us with their unexpected interaction.
The scene pinball machine concept was an idea I presented as a possible way to expand your creativity and allow the characters to develop organically. Using this method, the writer approaches a given scene by placing the characters into an environment of challenging objects which they bounce off of, becoming changed by the collisions. The objects in the scene pinball machine include setting, internal motivations, conflict, goals, the characters' histories, and other perils. The scene pinball machine is one way to visualize character interaction and keep it fresh and real for the characters without predetermining too many factors ahead of time.
An arsonist firefighter...gotta love group brainstorming :)