One Situation = Many Possibilities
By situation I mean setting, location, circumstance, event, season, and so on. This can be whatever you like… that is, whatever you want to use as the basis of an idea which you can develop into a story, article, essay or poem. You may even use it as the framework for a novel, or to stimulate memories that could become part of a memoir.
For the example to be presented here, we’ll explore the summer season and some of the options this presents for writing.
Write one word in the middle of a page. In this example, the word is SUMMER.
> Draw a circle around the word, and then draw lines outwards from it… like spokes in a wheel pushing out from the central hub.
> Ask yourself, ‘What does the word ‘summer’ conjure in my mind?’ and write one answer at the end of each spoke. You are likely to have words like… HEAT, CLOTHING, HATS, DANGER, INSECTS, FIRST AID, SUNGLASSES, HOLIDAYS, SURFING, DEHYDRATION, GARDENING, WATER SHORTAGE, FIRES… and the list goes on…
> Add spokes as more words rush into your thoughts.
> Take the word that most holds your attention and put it in the centre of another page, then repeat the above steps.
> If the word you chose was SURFING, for instance, your new list may include… SURF BOARDS, BEACHES, SHARKS, WET SUITS, WEATHER, TIDES, SURFING LESSONS, EVENTS, COMPETITIONS, COASTAL SWELL… and so on…
> Ask yourself how you might use any of these topics as a basis for your writing. Chances are, something is jumping out at you and begging to be written. It might be a book presenting a summary of each of the best surf beaches in your state… or an article on learning to surf… the joys of surfing… or the dangers of surfing. You may write from your personal experience as a surfer, or develop a novel in which the main character is a pro surfer. You may even write a potent poem about the freedom of communing with the elements… or a piece from the perspective of a shark watching surfers while it circles below them.
> Sharpen the idea you are most attracted to and use it to develop your next writing project.
> Sign and Date the other ideas stimulated by this exercise and add them to your Ideas Folder for future inspiration.
This exercise stimulates endless ideas and possibilities for writing topics and projects. In the above process, I presented eight examples of what might be written as a result of exploring the word ‘surfing’. This was a quick brainstorm and by no means an exhaustive list. These examples would be a small percentage of the options which would present themselves, if I took each of the words stimulated in this whole process and expanded them as well.
Remember too, this exercise can be repeated over and over, using a different initial word.
This exercise also relates to Writing Exercise #13 ~ Create an Ideas List, Writing Tip #14 and my Blog ~ Writer’s Block – Part B