This book summarizes some of the material I presented last year for SCBWI. Unfortunately, the video of the actual presentation is not available, but you are welcome to have a look here and try out the tips and exercises.
As a young child, picture books were my refuge…
As a young adult, I toyed with the notion of becoming a children’s writer, but ended up becoming a scientist and inventor.
As a scientist, I had to rely on my ability to come up with new ideas, mainly because I was such a lousy experimentalist.
But where did these new ideas come from? Was there some rational scheme to enable me to recreate the process?
In 2006, Dr. Alon Amit and I began to give courses in “Multidisciplinary Creative Thinking”, primarily to engineering students.
Again, we found that most of the literature and exercises concentrated on ‘problem solving’, rather than the concept of ‘coming up with new ideas’. So we created our own techniques, including 48create (opposite) which is free and fun to use.
Starting in 2016, I started taking my pb writing more seriously and attended the SCBWI conference in New York….
I found road maps, oodles of books, seminars on everything PB-related, but relatively little on the cognitive road map for coming up with ideas. Again, the same issue.
Hey, but that doesn’t make sense. After all, it should be rather easy to analyze the basis for successful book ideas, shouldn’t it?
They are twisted, twilight ideas (‘twideas’), juxtapositions, surprising, incongruous, wrong, childish, unexpected. But wherever do they come from?
Some examples might include:
Adopting a squash as a pet
A first-grader who eats her classmates
A mouse who frightens a monster
A school’s first day of school
A gentle bull in a china shop And
A visiting alien who decides that dogs are the master race.
While I was preparing this workshop, I remembered the conversation I had with Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor several months ago about her new book on our four mind characters….
Whole Brain Living: The Anatomy of Choice and the Four Characters That Drive Our Life – Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor
illustration on next page from:
Pay attention in particular to minutes 18-21.
Character 1 – left brain thinking
verbal, thinks in language, thinks linearly, focused on details, judgmental, concise/precise, conscious, structure/order, categorizes well, critically judges right and wrong
Character 3- right brain emotional
expansive, open, experiential, risk taking, fearless, friendly, kind, empathic, sharing, playful, joyful, goes with the flow, chaotic, curious, innovative.
The only problem being that….
CHARACTER 3 DOESN’T READ.
CHARACTER 3 DOESN’T SIGN UP FOR SEMINARS,LECTURES, COURSES AND WORKSHOPS!
CHARACTER 3 WANTS TO BE IN THE MOMENT, BE SILLY, SING, BARK, MESS THINGS UP AND HAVE FUN!
Exercise: EVERYTHING’S COMING UP ROSES
Take a rose/yogurt/honey/chocolate/etc.
Make a list of five things that are connected with it.
Now make a list of five things that are absolutely not connected with it.
Next: Have fun making the unexpected and absurd connections.
OUT OF CHARACTER
If you were writing a story about a plumber/fisherman/movie star/superhero, then…
a. which is the LAST animal you would consider casting as your main character?
b. what unexpected things would the character have in his/her pocket?