This is a game dedicated to Don Murray with an acknowledgment to Will Terrell for his insights on what attracts human attention.
Don Murray proposed that writers should keep day books, otherwise known as writer’s journals or writer’s notebooks. Don, amongst other things, filled his day books with lists. One of which was a list of potential titles for future stories.
All of which is good, but as Will Terrell explains in his video, a simple change can make a title far more memorable.
Journaling for creativity is a process, and perhaps the most obvious indicator that you are involved in a process, and not producing a product, is when you record questions in your journal.
These may be questions for you to answer or questions in need of answers from someone else.
Whether they are queries on your fictional characters or contemplations about real people, the whys, hows, whats and wheres will always keep occurring, and until you know an answer what better place to keep the question current than your journal.
This week I thought I would continue the recent trend of creativity games that can be played with friends. Today’s game is not a journaling game per se, because there is no involvement of your creative journal whilst playing the game.
However, there is nothing to stop you making an entry in your journal afterwards to capture the best bits.
The game is a story telling game with very simple rules. Yet, despite being simple, these rules automatically build in frustration and social competition; a combination which makes it a very creative and rewarding game when played with like-minded companions.
The few occasions where very strong emotions are expressed will test the extent of your active observation skills.
In writing circles the mantra “to show, not tell” resounds; we are constantly being told to demonstrate to the reader what our character is feeling, not tell the reader what emotions are being experienced by our characters.
So when you encounter anguish, rage, joy, despair, ecstasy, love, shock, etc. it is very important that you record exactly how these emotions are expressed by the people experiencing them. Do not restrict yourself to just the facial emotions, but instead, soak up the range of emotional indicators demonstrated by the whole body and persona of the individual.
Journals are great places for saving overheard snippets of dialogue. People often say the most interesting things or even uninteresting things but said in interesting ways.
If you ‘tune-in’ to the people around you, they will reward you with a wonderful and never ending selection of sayings, idioms, slang, phrases and profanity; some of which will be worth keeping in your creative journal for later use or inspiration.
This week’s game is one of the really enjoyable, fun games that can fill any odd moment. If played in your journal by yourself, it makes for a satisfying diversion or it can be a pleasurable social game played amongst friends.
How to play. Look at your surroundings and for the items there identify other things that have similar physical characteristics.
In other words find physical similes of the original object.
Which is easy until you strech yourself into all the abstract possibilities.
Today’s game borrows a technique from the photographic arts. In this game we attempt to either draw in or distance our reader from the action, by considered use of viewpoint.
The game involves rewriting the same scene as observed from different physical perspectives, in the same way that a photographer will subtly vary a composition by adjusting the focal length when taking a photograph ….. this technique can provide the reader with a perception of being ‘up close’ or ‘viewing from a distance’ and so subtly change the effect of a scene. The technique can also be used to play with emotions, withhold information from the reader or make additional information available.
Mention an event to someone and they will invariably think along the lines of an organised occasion, an important incident or a sporting contest.
However, those are all big events. For us, when we are practicing journaling for creativity, events can be much smaller. For us an event is any discrete action or change that we can observe.
There are events occurring all around us, all of the time. Little events and bigger events are part of our daily life and unfortunately, unless they are BIG events, we tend to allow them to flash past; unrecognised and unrecorded.
This week’s word game has been taken from “Writing the Natural Way” by Gabriele Lusser Rico. The game explores tension between similar word pairs and is an ideal game for a fifteen minute break in your day.
They surround us every minute of the day.
We are all, continuously, interacting with them.
So familiar with them have we become, that they appear unimportant, unmemorable and go unnoticed.
What are they? Oh, just everyday things.
However, to the creative journaler, the everyday things surrounding people, groups or organisations become very important indicators of lives being lived.