The common misconception is that creative writing is without structure. Some people believe that the great writers of history picked up their pen and paper and simply began writing the masterpieces that immortalized them in time. This cannot be farther from the truth. Every writer follows a long, arduous, and often personalized process that leads him or her to a final literary output. While some are admittedly more intuitive than others, each writer goes through the same sort of difficulties and requires varied steps and exercises in order to produce his or her pieces.
The following are some of the structured exercises that creative writers get into:
A mind-map is a graphical tool that can incorporate words, images, numbers, and color, so it can be more memorable and enjoyable to create and review. Mind maps link and group concepts together through natural associations. This helps generate more ideas, find deeper meaning in one’s subject, and also prompts one to chance upon what is missing. According to studies, the combination of words and pictures is six times better for remembering information than words alone.
2. Stream of Consciousness
This is unstructured, unedited writing that reflects one’s observations or feelings about a certain person, event, or item. Like brainstorming, the stream of consciousness is a literary tool that permits one to write and think freely without having to worry about external factors like criticism or grammar. The stream of consciousness is the continuous flow of thoughts, feelings, memories, physical sensations, and whatever else may exist in one’s mind. Because it is meant to induce spontaneity and uninhibited writing, it is often unpunctuated, formless, and disjointed—a reproduction of the interior monologue of the mind’s voice. The purpose of the stream of consciousness is to write without restraints—without self-restraint, without grammatical restraint, without moral restraint, and certainly without the restraint of years of societal education and the fears of “what people will say.” Several of the greatest writers in history such as Faulkner, Wolfe, and Joyce all used Stream of Consciousness techniques to create their literary masterpieces.
3. Switching Personas
Used especially by fiction writers, this is the exercise where one puts on the shoes of a different character to produce any literary piece as that particular individual. This can be an extremely effective step towards character development as one is giving more life to the character at hand. Writers can perform other writing exercises (such as the ones mentioned above) as a different persona in order to deepen these characters. In doing so, when the author returns to write about the characters themselves, they are much more fully developed.
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