Using a Memories Graph to Generate a Story Idea

What Is Freewriting?

Freewriting is the practice of writing nonstop whatever comes to mind (with or without parameters of theme or setting) while ignoring your inner editor. Freewriting is to creative writers as improvisation practice is to actors and as doodling is to artists.

Often freewriting is done for a set length of time (e.g., 10, 15, 20 minutes), or for a set page or word length (e.g., 1 page, 2 pages, 100 words), or for a certain unit of prose composition (e.g., one paragraph, one incident, one scene). A prompt is not essential but will help to launch a free-write. For writing prompt ideas (besides what I suggest in this article) use 'writing prompts' as an Internet and as a WorldCat search phrase.

A writer might do freewriting for its own sake, to stimulate and facilitate the flow of ideas and fantasies, from their mysterious subconscious source to consciousness to fingers to writing tool to paper. A further use of freewriting is as an aid in getting story or ideas to develop.

Me Making a Memories Graph

Instructions To Create a Best and Worst Memories Graph

With a pen or pencil, bisect a letter-size or larger blank sheet of paper horizontally with a straight line. Next fold the paper in half the short way four times and then open it back up. You will have 15 vertical creases. Use them to draw 15 vertical lines. Label each vertical line, counting by ones if you are aged 15 or younger, by twos if you are aged 16 to 30, by threes if you are aged 31 to 45, by fives if you are aged 46 to 75, by sixes if you are aged 76 to 90, and by sevens if you are older than 90. Also label each vertical line with the year that you turned that age. For instance, I am 71, so I'll number my vertical lines by fives; I was 5 years old in 1947, 10 in 1952, 15 in 1957, and so on.

Now think of days or even moments in your life when you felt very strong joy, sorrow, pride, shame, admiration, contempt, elation, fear, thrill of victory, agony of defeat, confident hope, despair, gratitude, resentment, affection, grief, or some other strong emotion. As you think of those incidents, note each on the graph, using whatever word or phrase works as a reminder for you, at the approximate point in time on or between the vertical lines that it took place. Put positive experiences above the horizontal line, the stronger the feeling, the higher above. Put negative experiences below the horizontal line, the stronger the feeling, the lower below. Take more or less 5 to 10 minutes to do this. Don't try to be thorough. You can add to the graph at other times. Just note on the graph the strong emotion memories that come to mind in a few minutes.

I learned how to make such a graph some years ago from a man (whose name I've forgotten) who taught a series of creative writing workshops in the Arts and Culture Center in the basement of the Marquette, Michigan, public library.

I just, while drafting this article, did my best and worst memories graph and noted on it my wedding day in 1995 (very positive emotions; keyword Wed), the day in 1988 that my mother had a stroke and I didn't know what was happening (very negative emotions; keyword Stroke), the day in or about 1954 that I saw a scarlet tanager in the north woods (moderately strong positive emotions; keyword Tanager), the day when I was circa 25 that it dawned on me that my at that time betrothed was not away on a trip just briefly (very strong negative emotions of being abandoned and of loss of anticipated happiness; keyword Jilted); and the day in 2010 that I learned that Whiskey Creek Press had accepted my novel The Son Who Paid Attention for publication (positive emotions of accomplishment; keyword Novel); . If I continued to reflect, I could add many more incidents that were emotional highs and lows in my life. That is enough for my graph for now.

Happysad by Greg Sain
Happysad by Greg Sain | Source

Use Your Best and Worst Memories Graph to Choose a Writing Prompt

Now choose the incident on your graph to which at this time your attention feels most drawn. Or if none of them at this time comes more than the others to the fore of your consciousness, pick one at random.

That done, you are through with your graph for now. File it where you can find it again whenever you wish to repeat this exercise, making additions to it if you wish.

Now take a few minutes to remember the incident you have chosen. As best you can, in your memory, mentally see what you saw, hear what you heard, smell what you smelt, touch what you touched then, and most of all feel the emotions that you felt while that experience was happening.

I picked the time my mother had a stroke and am remembering my shock and confusion when I found her lying on the floor and I had no idea why she was there, awake and not showing pain but not getting up or talking to me.

Now is the time to let your imagination off the leash of what really happened. {Telling what really happened, with the historical truth of a legal brief coupled with the emotional truth of a gripping story, is another option and a different topic.} Keep in your mind only the emotions that you associate with your chosen remembered incident and imagine a completely different incident, with different, imaginary, people in it, living in a different time and place, experiencing a quite different chain of events—but with the emotions of the main character, the point-of-view (POV) character, who is having the experience being much like the emotions you felt when you lived your chosen remembered incident.

This is like a Method Acting exercise for writers.

I am imagining a mother seeing her son get a brain injury in a freak accident in a schoolyard soccer game.

Note that I could have made a different choice, of the incident from my life to use and/or of the imaginary situation. For instance, I could have chosen the one and only time I glimpsed a scarlet tanager and from my memory of my emotions then could have imagined a boy and his dad encountering a group of the nearly extinct blue-tonged singing monkeys of Cornyo. Or, back to the stroke incident, instead of a soccer game accident, I could imagine a car-pedestrian accident. In fact, I think that is a better choice, and I'll use it.

Now use that situation you have imagined as a free writing prompt. In my case, my prompt is: a mother is anguished and confused when, after she sees her schoolboy son get hit by a car, he is conscience but doesn't get up.

Before starting, decide what question the story you are beginning to develop will ask and answer. In other words, what is at stake and at risk for the main character? In the case of the situation that I imagined, the question might be, as wondered from the point of view of the main character: Will my injured son have the life he wanted?

Choose a free writing time period, say, 15 minutes, or less or more as seems best to you.

Remember the Goldberg Rules of Writing Practice

I like the way Natalie Goldberg expresses the rules of freewriting in her book Wild Mind. (The rules are hers; the comments are mine.):

1. "Keep your hand moving." (However you are getting words to paper or computer screen, whether by pencil, pen, stylus, keyboard, or voice dictation, strive not to stop or pause, or more than for a moment. Do not second-guess your quick decisions. Do not edit, revise, ponder, or daydream. Just keep on writing, in high gear. If the notion pops into your mind that your main character is named Sally, not Suzy, then from that point on call her Sally and do not worry about what you have already written; change that, if you wish, later. Do what the spirit says do. If you find yourself writing, "I held my breath, not daring to make a sound," in one sentence and, "Seeing that it was only the cat, she let out her breath with a relieved sigh" in the next sentence, don't worry about it; you can decide between first-person and third-person point of view in your second draft, if later you choose to consider your free-write the start of the first draft of a work in progress and not merely an exercise. For now it is an exercise, and the exercise is to keep words appearing on your paper or screen. If nothing sensible is coming to mind, write, “I can't think of anything to write,” or scat like a jazz singer—bebop dobop, zoople doople loople, woop bop!)

2. "Lose control." (Now is the time to write what and how you want, meaning by "you" your "dance like nobody is watching" self. Spelling? Good grammar? Logic? Consistency? Propriety? Can you say it better? Do not worry about any of that. What you are writing now is for your eyes only, and you do not need to please even you. Write with blood, sweat, and tears, or with goofiness, or with schmaltz, or with rage, or with passion, or with ennui, but not with a blue pencil.)

3. "Be specific." (This advice from Goldberg is tricky, because it seems to be saying to edit yourself while free-writing. Do not be so concerned about being specific that this slows down your writing while you think about whether to say weed or thistle or whether to say bird or blackbird or boat-tailed grackle. Just write what comes to mind, and if you have an in the instant choice of words, go with your gut impulse.

That said, keep in the back of your mind the recollection that most likely you are writing about certain particular characters, whether fictional or real-life, having certain particular experiences, and not about such persons in general having such experiences in general—not a man entering a house but such and such a man entering such and such a house.

But if you do write generalities, don't worry about it. Keep your hand moving.)

4. "Don't think." (That is, don't think about your thoughts. Like, if your prompt is 'sunset' and as you are writing, the mental image comes to you of a dragon flying in the distance, silhouetted against the setting sun, describe that, rather than think, "Why a dragon? Do I want to write about a dragon? What do dragons have to do with my topic sunset?" Write your first thoughts, not your thoughts about your thoughts, or your thoughts about your thoughts about your thoughts.)

5. "Don't worry about punctuation, spelling, grammar."

6. "You are free to write the worst junk in the world." (Don't worry about whether it is or isn't junk, or is or isn't precious, cute, intense, funny, boring, memorable, forgettable, or any judgment. This is not a contest—not even a personal-best contest. Don't judge it. That's a rule. Free writing is an exercise in writing without judgment, like singing while you shower.)

7. "Go for the jugular." (Goldberg explains, "If something scary comes up, go for it. That's where the energy is. Otherwise, you'll spend all your time writing around whatever makes you nervous. It will probably be abstract, bland writing because you're avoiding the truth."

Make up your own figure of speech for Rule 7. Perhaps, "As I do this writing exercise, I shall face undaunted my monsters of painful inner feelings." Or perhaps, "A free-write is a pilgrimage into the imaginings and memories of my mind; I will bravely keep on, though I come to the Desert of Loneliness, the Crevice of Grief, the Scalding Flood of Anger, the Frozen Wasteland of Despair, the Hot Coals of Embarrassment, the Sheer Cliff of Guilt, or the Island of Unrequited Love."

I read one time about a famed photo-journalist who spoke of the emotional circle of a shot. Many of the great and prize-winning news and human interest photos are in that circle and evoke the essential emotion of the event, whether elation, grief, rage, love, or whatever it might be. I understand Rule 7 to be about expressing and evoking the emotions that a free-write brings up rather than evading them.)

[Note: The direct quotes above giving the seven rules of freewriting (which Natalie Goldberg calls 'writing practice') are from her book Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life. Bantam Books, 1990, pages 2-4.]

For Goldberg 'writing practice' is a daily practice done for its own sake, just as is her zazen Zen Buddhist sitting practice, or just as piano practice is for pianists, football practice is for football players, running practice is for marathon racers, or trying something new home-cooking is for chefs.

Back to the Prompt from Your Best and Worst Memories Graph

In creative writing classes, free writing exercises are often used to help students circumvent their internal editor and critic, who is too worried about perfection and about pleasing others to allow authentic from the heart and the gut writing. In this essay I am experimenting with using free writing for that, plus as a step in story creation.

All that you and I have at this point is an emotion, or a complex of emotions, associated with a remembered incident in each of our lives and some beginning thoughts about a fictional incident that evokes that emotion. As yet there is no plot, no story line, no theme, no named or described characters or locations, no dramatic arc of suspense and climax, no beginning, no middle, no end. It is not the function of the freewriting stage to provide any of that, except coincidentally. Its purpose is to drill into the writer's subconscious and see what thoughts and fantasies gush out.

Whatever you write in your free-writing time, set it aside for more or less a couple of weeks, and then look at it again and see if there is any raw material there of possible use in constructing a story.

So here goes my free-write (which in ordinary circumstances only I ever would read):

Accident

It seemed like almost yesterday to Brenda that she would hold Davy's hand when they went for a walk together. That was when he was a preschooler and in kindergarten. Now he was 10, nearly 11, in March of fifth grade, and was jumping around her with nervous excitement as she walked, and he was talking a blue streak.

"Thanks for coming to the Legos tournament, Mom. Wait till you see what my team made! It's taller than me, and it moves!"

"It's alive!" Brenda teased.

That was Davey's cue to talk about artificial intelligence, smart this and smart that, and his indecision whether to grow up to be an engineer, inventor, entrepreneur, or all three, and whether to focus on computing, micro technology, gaming, applications of cool energy sources, or what. Brenda smiled to herself to hear his high tech talk when he had a bag of Hardy Boys, Sherlock Holmes, and Nero Wolfe mysteries on their way back to the public library, books that her brothers were reading when they were his age.

They were walking on the Parrish Street sidewalk the two blocks from where she parked at a meter to the ??make up a town name??, Minnesota Public Library. They came to the Stueve Street intersection. Stueve Street was a short, quiet, little used street that went behind the parking lots of a couple of downtown churches. Davey started to cross it, walking backwards, his mind on his plans for the future he was sharing. Brenda saw in a glance the Mercedes-Benz making a slow turn off of Parrish onto Stueve, the driver not watching for pedestrians, not giving pedestrians the right-of-way, not paying attention, his eyes on a smart phone text message when his car bumped into Davey.

That took me more like half an hour than 15 minutes. I'm a slow thinker, so a slow writer, even when free writing. I didn't get far into the scene, but anyway I made a start. I'll continue it tomorrow or soon.

I'm continuing next day:

The driver had seen Davey out of the corner of his eye and slammed on his brakes, so the car was barely moving and was stopping when it struck Davey. Davey at that instant was on one foot and partially turned to say something to his mother, and the light impact made him fall. He went down like a tree, and his head hit a steel manhole cover. He lay still.

Brenda was utterly shocked and incensed by the carelessness of the driver. She had been to Nonviolent Communication workshops and knew better than to make moralistic judgments and knew that if she felt angry, it was because her needs were not being met and she was blaming another person. She said what she had observed. "Your car hit my boy and knocked him down!" She said what she was feeling and what needs of hers were not being met. "I have a mother's need to know my child is safe, so I am feeling upset and frantic and, truth be told, absolutely shocked by your carelessness. Would you be willing to call 911?"

"I stopped my car and didn't hit anyone!" the middle-aged man said. "Your son lost his balance because he was walking funny. Or maybe this is an insurance scam. That happens a lot."

"You don't know the meaning of responsibility, do you? Just call 911, please, while I tend to my son."

"He's probably fine," the driver said. "Ask him."

Brenda couldn't argue with that. She looked over at Davey and was hugely relieved that he wasn't knocked out, or dead. "Are you all right, Davey?" she called out with hope and optimism. Davey was raising his torso, holding it erect by pushing with his left hand against the pavement. Brenda saw a little blood in his hair, that area starting to swell. "Are you all right?" she asked again, this time louder, worriedly. She saw the right half of Davey's lips slack, his eyes frightened and confused. Something was terribly wrong. "Call 911, you freaking goddamn prick!" she screamed.

Story Possibilities

I think that I have some interesting potential story material in those two free-writes. The details came out of the blue—Legos, Mercedes-Benz, Nonviolent Communication, and so on—out of the workshop of my imagination. If, as the story develops, any detail doesn't seem a perfect fit, I can ask my imagination for another suggestion.

I can begin thinking about story possibilities and choices and can do more free writing as needed if needed. Will the driver be a major character in the story, perhaps the villain in a lawsuit, or will he soon make his exit, telling his lawyer to settle out of court? I'm thinking I'll choose the latter. In the two free writes I've shared, I have used third person limited point of view, specifically Brenda's point of view. Will I want to stick with that? Switch to a know all see all storyteller point of view? Tell the story from Davey's point of view? Alternate points of view? Switch from third person to first person? I'll be giving serious thought to those questions. Will it be Brenda's story of how she copes with the challenges of raising a brain-damaged child? Davey's story of how he copes with being a brain-damaged child? Both? Other?

It may be too soon to write the logline for my embryo of a story. Perhaps I should take some time to let it percolate in my subconscious and to see where additional free-writes take it. But I'll give it a try. Tentative logline: "When her schoolboy son is accidentally brain damaged, a mother's wish for him to become an engineer-inventor-entrepreneur as he had wished is challenged as she goes to bat for him against naysayers, bureaucrats, and self-doubt."

For now that will guide me as I shape the story. I might reword the logline as the story comes more into focus.

Will I ever do any more work at all on this embryonic work in progress? Will I ever begin and will I ever finish a first draft, and will I ever finish a final draft, accepted for publication? Time will tell.

Conclusion

I encourage you to give the steps recommended in this article a try. Create a best and worst experiences of my life graph. Choose one of them and vividly remember the experience, including and especially emotions you felt as it happened. Imagine a fictional experience that is quite different but evokes those same positive or negative emotions. Then using that imagining as your prompt, write one or more free-writes to mine your subconscious for story material. Then see if you can put that material into the context of a viable plot by writing a logline. If you like, take it from there.

Poll

This exercise of graphing emotionally strong experiences and then using the evoking of one of those emotions as a freewriting prompt:

See results without voting

More by this Author


Comments 42 comments

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Very interesting.


cygnetbrown profile image

cygnetbrown 2 years ago from Alton, Missouri

This is a great way to avoid writer's block and avoid the same old same old story lines. One of my favorite tools!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Great idea, Brian, and you led by example which helps...and...a video by you. An added bonus for sure. Well done my friend. Have a great weekend.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thanks, Ericdierker.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thanks for commenting, cygnetbrown. By "this" do you mean freewriting in general or do you mean specifically using a strong emotion from one's own past experience as a freewriting prompt? Either way, perhaps you could write a hub about it some time, if you have not already,


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thanks, billybuc. Your example inspired me to make the video. My first hub video is crude but a start. I told about that experience in a Facebook post this evening, about my first experience using video editing software. Do you edit your videos? Also your hub on figures of speech inspired me to include several of them, scattered through the text.


cygnetbrown profile image

cygnetbrown 2 years ago from Alton, Missouri

I was talking about both B. Leekley. Thanks!


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 2 years ago from USA

Great ideas and very helpful. I have been journaling like this since I was in high school. I wished I would have kept all of them, but only have a few from the last ten years. I found that it does help a story line or two when I feel a bit of writer's block and go back to review them. I will have to try out your suggestions here. Thanks for posting them.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thanks for commenting, tipoague, and for sharing your experience. You make the case for keeping the tidbits of text produced journaling or freewriting.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thanks for clarifying, cygnetbrown. I'm glad to get the verification that these techniques and exercises are worthwhile.


Writer Fox profile image

Writer Fox 2 years ago from the wadi near the little river

These are truly interesting ideas for writing prompts. Your personal examples were helpful, too. Enjoyed!


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thank you, Writer Fox.


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Using a Memories Graph to Choose a Freewriting Prompt to Generate a Story Idea has informative and interesting ideas indeed. A well explained and thought of hub on this unique topic.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thank you, DDE.


DreamerMeg profile image

DreamerMeg 2 years ago from Northern Ireland

What an interesting concept. I have never heard of a memories graph before and I will have to try that sometime when I am doing creative writing. I use free writing all the time for academic writing. It is recommended also by those who teach doctoral students, even if you are writing factual stuff. Another good proponent of free writing for creative writers is Peter Elbow and he also has some good ideas for writing this way when you are on a deadline. Also Steven Posusta uses it for students who have a term paper to write. Both interesting writers.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thanks for the suggestions, DreamerMeg. I'll find out more about Elbow and Posusta.

Ever since I read your mind mapping hub article the other day, I start just about everything I write, even this reply, with a mind map. I've started to experiment with mind map fiction free writing. It's amazing.


Mark Lees profile image

Mark Lees 2 years ago

I love free writing as an exercise (although I rarely do it, my back catalogue of unfinished stories is full enough as it is).

Few things help us develop an idea more than letting the subconscious take over and it never ceases to amaze me how the ideas and themes seem to hold together without concious planning.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Yes, the subconscious is amazing. And let's each get a story done and out into the world this or next month. Thanks for commenting.


kerlund74 profile image

kerlund74 2 years ago from Sweden

I really enjoyed reading this, great idea, sounds like a fun way to keep writing or get started. Voted!


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thank you, kerlund74.


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

Great suggestions!

I am in the habit of writing in my personal diary. More or less I follow the same ideas in writing there, which you have mentioned here.

Very interesting ideas, worth following. Thanks and have a good day!


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thanks, ChitrangadaSharan. I'm glad you like this hub. I've heard that writing in a diary or journal is good practice for writers. I've started posting journal-type entries to Bubblews.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Brian, this is a very informative and useful article, I'll be keeping it for referencing. Loved the video, I'll certainly try the writing prompt. Nicely done, up and sharing.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thanks very much, tobusiness.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

This is really great info, and something we should all do, I tend to write down feelings etc, and when I did a writing course back in the nineties we had to do something similar, nell


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thanks, Nell. Both actors and fiction/drama writers need to get adept through practice at emoting and expressing the feelings of characters.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

What an interesting method to get those creative juices flowing freely! I found this article very helpful and I look forward to trying this exercise. I need to try something, as I have not published anything in three months, when it was I used to publish at least twice a week.

Voted up +++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thanks, Faith Reaper. I hope the memories graph exercise is of some help. I see it as an exercise in writing stories with strong positive or negative emotions by recalling the highs and lows in one's own life and how they felt.


DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

DrBill-WmL-Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

Well done... I got kind of tired, just reading it... but, I'll bet it works. Thanks for sharing! ;-)


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thanks for commenting, DrBill.


truthfornow profile image

truthfornow 2 years ago from New Orleans, LA

I like the idea of free writing. The graph exercise is an interesting approach that I hadn't thought of. Wild Mind seems like a cool book. Writers' Block seems to come when we think too much about writing and do too much self-editing. Just let the creative juices flow . . .


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

This hub contains some great ideas. I appreciate all the tips and examples, as well as the video. I'll try your technique for free writing. It sounds like it should be very useful!


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Yes, I agree, truthfornow -- at least for the first, rough draft. And I've liked all of Natalie Goldberg's books that I've read so far.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

I hope the technique is useful for you, AliciaC.


Gishanth 22 months ago

I like #1 and #2. Years ago, I stopped cainllg my notes outlines. It made a difference in my own willingness to get thoughts on paper. Outlines have such a negative memory from 7th grade english class!


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 22 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Gishanth, what is "cainllg"? A typo? Anyway, I'm glad the change, whatever it was, worked for you. As for writing notes and outlines, I recently starting using Tony Buzan's mind mapping technique and am loving it.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 16 months ago from Northern California, USA

Oh my gosh! This is such a wonderful exercise. I have a lot of trouble letting go and somehow I feel like I could be inspired to do so if I used your graph idea. Thank you for sharing this with us.


Glenis Rix profile image

Glenis Rix 16 months ago from UK

I like the idea of a mind-mapping graph as a tool. I recently wrote a very short account of my childhood in the 50s and need to expand it, so will definitely be preparing a graph soon. Thanks.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 16 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

I'm glad you like the exercise, Marlene. Experiment to see if it, or some variation on the general idea, works well for you.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 16 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

I hope you will find it helpful, Glenis.


phoenix2327 profile image

phoenix2327 11 months ago from United Kingdom

This is quite timely for me. I'm in the midst of finishing a story I started at my writers' group. The only time I use this method is at the writers' group because we are only allowed a set time to come up with something. No time for backtracking or editing. You shoot from the hip. I find some of my best stuff comes from this. I'm glad I ran across this and I will use this method when I'm at home. I do tend to edit as I go and maybe that's why I don't seem to be getting very far. I need to get used to spitting it out now, make it pretty later.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 10 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Good plan, phoenix2327. "Spitting out" the first draft also captures the "first thoughts" raw emotional energy of the writer, according to Natalie Goldberg. [WRITING DOWN THE BONES page 9] It is tricky not to lose that in the revising process.

The opposite mistake also easily become habitual— that of never getting around to editing first rough drafts. I wonder how many annual NaNoWriMo participants have a drawer full of first drafts of novels waiting to be edited.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working