Write Now: Writing Techniques May Help

When an athlete performs at the highest level, some would say he is in the zone or experiencing a flow state.

Writers, too, can experience a flow state, but in a somewhat different form.

There are some techniques, stream of consciousness, free write, mashup, and brainstorming where writers just write. The techniques may be a form of prewriting trying to get the writer to get ideas and words on the page. While these techniques may work for some, they may not work for all. When writing, I have explored brainstorming, and stream of consciousness, and have observed a variation of a mashup.

STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS

Writers who use this technique are trying to get inside of the minds of their characters. According to litterarydevices.net, stream of consciousness is a method of narration that describes happenings in the flow of thoughts in the minds of the characters. The technique aspires to give readers the impression of being inside the minds of the characters. The website also said that SOC lacks punctuation. Forgoing punctuation is OK because the writer needs to get his words to the page. It is the intent that the writer will go back to what he has written and properly punctuate his writing. If one’s writing has no punctuation, a reader doesn’t know where to begin or where to end. An exception to this rule is poetry where a writer may use line break as punctuation. Sometimes poems have punctuation. In either case, the reader should honor line break, and the punctuation in the piece. William Faulkner, an American author, is noted for using SOC when he wrote his southern fiction. A fiction writer should try this technique to see if it moves along his novel or short story.

FREE WRITE

The trick to this technique is to keep writing. According to writingprocess.mit.edu, Free writing, is a writing strategy developed by Peter Elbow in 1973. It is similar to brainstorming but is written in sentence and paragraph form without stopping. Free writing is supposed to increase the flow of ideas and reduce the chance that a writer will accidentally censor a good idea. The website also encourages a writer to write down every idea, no matter how crazy, and not to worry about grammar or spelling. At the end, the writer is to correct errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar. This sounds fun. Just to write whatever comes into your head. Who knows, you may generate a great idea for a short story, novel, or an academic paper. It dDoesn’t hurt to try this technique.

MASHUP

This is a technique that English teachers may use in their classrooms. It is a variation of a musical mashup where, according to dictionary.com, a recording combines vocal and instrumental tracks from two or more recordings. It also can be a creative combination or mixing of content from different sources. So in a literary setting, an author may combine content from two different sources. The sources may be his own, or others. If using other sources, I would hope the author cites the sources, just to be on the up and up. The other way that this technique can be used in a literary setting is where students add to an existing piece of literature. It’s simple: the teacher writes a sentence, and then asks each student in class to add his or her sentence. Teachers should make sure school-appropriate language is used. This can be done digitally, with a computer connected to a video screen or by pen and paper. Three passes around the class should suffice, and the result may be a weird, funny, or even a sad story. This technique may break the ice for those students reluctant to put words to the paper or screen. This technique also seems fun to be the administrator and to be the participant.

BRAINSTORMING

This technique is basically just a listing of ideas. The ideas don’t have to be related to any topic. This is a good technique for a band searching for its perfect name. Have all the members write down 10 words, and then compare lists. If there are any words that overlap, that may be the band’s new name.

See HELP, Page B7

From Page B6

Here is an example. The topic is coffee, so my brainstorming session may include the words, hot, black, sugar, grounds, beans, aroma, cream, decaffeinated, cup, joe, and java.

So, what ever technique you choose to use, just make the most of that technique.

It’s that easy.

It’s that hard.

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