Monday, October 1, 2007

Cube exercise

Struggling against a cold today. Or allergies. At this point it's hard to tell anymore.

Through the fog I worked on something called the cube exercise. I found it in the Laurie Henry book but you can find other examples of it there. Basically, you pick any single aspect of your story--a character, a chapter, an event, a theme--and do some writing on each of these six questions representing six sides of an issue.

  1. Describe: Think about your topic in terms of the five senses. What does it look like? What color is it? What does it smell, taste, sound, or feel like?
  2. Compare: What is your topic similar to? What is its exact opposite?
  3. Associate: What does your topic remind you of? When you close your eyes and think about your topic, what pops into your head?
  4. Analyze: Think about the parts of your topic and how they work together. Tell what causes your topic, how it emerges/emerged, what causes or influences it, and how it can be categorized or grouped.
  5. Apply: What can you do with your topic? How can your subject be used productively? What good does your subject do anyone?
  6. Argue: Take a stand for or against your subject - or both! Think of as many reasons, logical or silly, that you might have for favoring or opposing your subject.
Depending on what kind of aspect you picked, some of these questions make more obvious sense than others. I was working on a character, so you can imagine that "applying" my character isn't immediate obvious. As an exercise, though, it can be worth trying to think in those terms.

Because I was feeling sick and slow moving, I decided to practice this by using a minor character this morning. Tomorrow I intend to try it with my main character.

Each day I feel like I understand things a little better. Hopefully soon I'll feel like I understand them well enough to switch on the creative impulse again and launch into the rewrite.

No comments: