Monday, June 15, 2009

Steps in Creating Something

In my first-year psychology class today, my professor listed the following steps in doing something creative:
  1. Orientation - defining the problem that needs to be solved
  2. Preparation - gathering relevant information
  3. Incubation - setting the thing aside and doing other stuff, meanwhile figuring out things in the background
  4. Illumination - after awhile of incubation, a solution suddenly comes to you
  5. Verification - you check out the insight you had and make use of it (or else go back to stages 2-3, I guess)

That's a pretty good description of how I write essays or other assignments. Stages 1 & 2 occur when I read the work I need to write about, find out my assignment and then reread what I'd most like to write my essay about. If I don't have an idea right away, I let it simmer a bit and then decide what exactly I want to write about (stages 3 & 4) and then I write it (stage 5). But I also write fantasy stories on my own time, a more creative act than writing an essay, and I don't follow these stages at all in writing fantasy.

Here's my impression of what steps I do follow:

  1. I have an idea - like, for example, 'imagine if a half-vampire was going around biting people and then pretending to hunt himself down in order to get money?' These ideas can come from reading another story, pondering some problem, having a weird dream, whatever. I don't always know where the idea came from, but often I do.
  2. I ponder the idea a bit, and maybe combine it with other ideas, let it simmer awhile, and eventually come up with a starting scene and (hopefully) a plot.
  3. I write the starting scene, and keep on writing along the plot, stopping when I get stuck on something.
  4. I talk over what I'm stuck on with someone else, or just let it simmer awhile. Then I get another idea, and either keep on writing from where I was before or rewrite part of the story and continue.
  5. Eventually, I come to a point where I can say that it's done. Usually by then I've had ideas for a sequel, whether or not I write one depends on how good my ideas are.

Anyone else want to share?

8 Comments:

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Blogger Unknown said...

I like how you explained your teacher's steps in a way that you apply them. Because when I was reading through teacher's steps and got to step number three, I was like well this is where it usually ends. However your approach about talking to a person or waiting till a new idea emerges is priceless. I also liked how you don't get stuck with one idea, if a new one appears, you can easily change it up or add it to the previous one. I think this is one of the most useful things that a writer can do, because a lot just get stuck...writer's block they say. Last time I was trying to write about how to write a hook for an essay I got to the part after the research and was stuck for a long time till I realized that in order for me to finish I just need to step back, get a coffe and while I was walking an idea struck on how to originally talk about this topic. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy!

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Blogger Unknown said...

Very interesting point of view! I like how you explained your teacher's steps in a way that you apply them. Because when I was reading through teacher's steps and got to step number three, I was like well this is where it usually ends. However your approach about talking to a person or waiting till a new idea emerges is priceless. Also check my website about virtual data room (https://www.idealsvdr.com/)!

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Blogger Michael Jones said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

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Blogger Terence R. Gaylord said...

The steps that you describe in this article are really important to do something creative. For creativity, you have to open your mind and work according to the current situation.

7:49 PM  

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