As promised last week here are tried and tested methods of releasing creativity and they work wonders for fiction writing:
- Stream of consciousness
- Trigger writing
- News stories
Stream of Consciousness
Close your eyes, blank your mind and allow in snatches of images/people/places. Using what is known as the ‘blink’ method, write what comes into your mind without thought or analysis. Your ‘blink’ could range from a person to a place or an incident. Focus on impressions and sensations, using the five senses: Sight. Sound.Touch. Smell.Taste. If it’s an incident, get the bones down. The important thing is to capture the essence of your ‘blink’. It will need some tidying up but you will have a raw energy with which to work.
The most famous example of stream of consciousness writing is James Joyce’s Ulysses.
Is a variation on Stream of Consciousness. Use a sentence, phrase or line of poetry that appeals to you and allow your imagination to take off. A sentence could run along the lines of: A five-year old saying after swimming, ‘I’m going to shiver myself warm’. In your mind, try to imagine who is this child? What does he or she look like? Where is the action taking place? Who is with him? How and why do they happen to be in that particular location?
A phrase could be as simple and as visual as, ‘drops of dew along the telephone wires, like rosary beads’. What does that bring to mind? Develop that thought. Or ‘a band called Tangerine Dreams’. What images does that conjure up? Who plays in this band? What’s the era and where’s the location? What can you make happen? The possibilities are endless when you run with trigger writing. Again write spontaneously, using the blink method.
One of the most powerful examples of trigger writing is C. S. Lewis’s classic series on Narnia.
Like it or not, we are the sum total of our life experiences and we all bring a wealth of that to our writing. Budda goes as far as saying, ‘What we think, we become.’
Start by writing about your happiest/most profound childhood memory; first day at school; most dominant life memory. Most of us can remember our first kiss. Go back in time to that, recalling the sensations it evoked. By no means dismiss the light fiction of palpitating hearts and weak knees.
What starts as memoir writing often ends up as powerful fiction.
Treasure your dreams, they are a potent aid to writing. Have you ever awoken from a dream so powerful that you taste the aftermath? Get it down on paper before its impact floats off into infinity, as dreams have a habit of doing. Whether or not you’re a dreamer, keep a notebook and pencil by your bed. And you know that wonderful feeling of floating between sleep and wakefulness? That is a creative time. Capture the pearls of ideas contained in its essence before they float away, as, if not secured, float away they will.
Newspapers and magazines are a fertile stomping ground for ideas, particularly if you don’t have a great imagination. If you take to this method, perhaps you’re destined to write more factual fiction – fiction-led fact or novelization, as it’s currently labelled. There are loads of newspapers – broadsheet and tabloid, and magazines – current affairs, fashion and style, and trade to choose from. Look at any publication of your choice, see what story draws you and do a ‘what if’ around it, looking at the various possible connotations.
Choose the method that most appeals to you: think it through, make a few notes or bullet points, and when you’re ready give it eight to ten minutes of spontaneous writing. You’ll be surprised at what you come up with. The next day look over what you’ve written:
(i) Is there tension in your piece?
(ii) Are your characters viable?
When you’re satisfied, pick another heading and so on until you’ve completed all these exercises.