Thursday, October 27, 2005

Clustering characters

If you don't know what clustering is, see below.

Word Prompt

What does a particular character make you think of?

Begin with a character type. It can be a stock character like a wizard or mecha pilot or mini-mart clerk.

Set the timer for 10-15 minutes.

In the middle of a piece of paper write your character type and circle it.

Write around it ideas your character type makes you think of.

Around those ideas write ideas those make you think of.

NOTE: It might be helpful to do this on a big piece of paper. (Though my tendency when using a big piece of paper is to write big which defeats the purpose!

2nd NOTE: I had a tendency when branching out from my related word to think back to the original word. That is I started with ghost and one word it reminded me of was transparent. Then I got stuck trying to think in terms of "transparent ghost." Try to not do that! :-) Treat each word as a totally new and fresh idea. When I started to think fresh then transparent led to window and transparencies ...

Writing Prompt

When the timer's done, look over what you wrote and pick out some ideas that you like. Maybe what you ended up with were a lot of cliches. Try choosing the opposite and see what kind of character that sparks for you.

When you have something you like, set the timer for 10-15 minutes and write about her or him or it.

About Cluster Diagrams

Clustering is a great way to get ideas to flow out. What you do is write a word or an idea in the middle of a piece of paper. Radiating out from it you'll write whatever words/ideas your central word/idea makes you think of. And then around those words/ideas you'll write words/ideas those make you think of. Basically it's free association.

There's one up in the right corner clustering around "ghost" and one at: Cluster sample. (Notice in the "Cluster sample" one that Dad radiated out from Bar but the words radiating out from Dad had nothing to do with bar. This is A Good Thing! It means the imagination is flowing.)

This is inspired by Lisa Lippert's page on writing exercises

(Clustering can work for just about anything you need to generate ideas for.)
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