Get the Powers to Act from Fresh Ideas



July 9, 2015

Thinking Creatively in Essay Writing

Let's be honest, frank and lazy. Why do we need to sweat our brains to write at all?

The very first of the five canons of Rhetoric is "invention", which means having good ideas to express.

Cassius Longinus on The Sublime listed five sources that produce sublimity or greatness in writing. The very first one is “vigor of mental conception.” Lifeless, feckless ideas, stories cannot and will not shake, grip, capture any hearts or minds.

Here come a few short sets of practical, battle-tested methods to get inspirations:
  1. Think of opposites.
  2. Make a matrix of attributes of the thing you want to have ideas about.
  1. Use 3 random nouns.
  2. Use random words, pictures or objects.
  3. Combine them in any random ways.
  1. Invite Sherlock Holmes, Andrew Carnegie etc and ask for their ideas.
  2. Imagine you are that thing.
  3. Imagine you are at that place.
  4. Imagine that thing has already happened. How do you feel now?
  1. Speed write. Write without any thought or plan. Preferably with your non-dominant hand!

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