Lession 1 - Part 2

Lession 1 - Part 2

A Lesson by Lady KrimZen

Lession 1: Creative Thinking For Writers - Part 2: Fluency And Flexibility And Activity 1.2: Uses For A Towel



Both play an important role for writers, particularly when it comes to generating ideas.
‘Fluency’ means the ability to let as many ideas as possible flow freely without stopping to judge them. To speak a language fluently means to speak it freely without stopping to think about whether or not you are using the right words. To think fluently is the same principle – to think freely without needing to stop and think too much about the reasoning behind your ideas. Fluent thinkers are able to let ideas flow out of their heads, and only later will they assess which ideas are good and which ones are not.
Did you manage to fill in all 20 circles on the previous page? If so, congratulations. You have the signs of a very fluent thinker who can let ideas flow quite easily. If not, these skills will come shortly with practice.
‘Flexibility’ is the ability to think of many different ideas. For example, anyone might be able to turn the circles into 20 different types of balls quite quickly (tennis ball, basketball, soccer ball, bowling ball, etc.), but a flexible thinker might turn one of them into a ball, one into a pizza, one into a wheel, one into a planet, and so forth.
How would you describe the flexibility in your pictures? Was there a wide variety of pictures? And importantly, did you stay inside the circles or venture outside? Remember, there were no rules, so a flexible thinker might have used the space around the circles as well, such as to add rings to Saturn, or legs and a head to a dung beetle. Flexible thinkers might have combined two or more circles, perhaps as the wheels of a bike or a pair of swimming goggles. And did you only create objects? What about patterns? Or perhaps the circles were a window to a much bigger scene, possibly as seen through a pair of binoculars?


So remember, fluency is the ability to let ideas flow naturally and unimpeded, and flexibility is the ability to think of a wide variety of possibilities. Combined, these two skills are very important for creative writers.





In five minutes, write down as many uses of a towel as you can think of.
Remember, it doesn't matter how obscure your ideas may sound – write them down anyway. The object is to get as many ideas as possible.
For example, your first answer will probably be ‘to dry yourself’. That’s the most obvious one of course. But what else can a towel be used for? As you progress, your answers will become more and more obscure. That is to be encouraged!

How did you go? Did you surprise yourself with the number of ideas you were able to come up with? If so, then the activity was successful! That is the art of fluency.
Did you find that you started with obvious, practical answers and then came up with some more obscure ones, even ones that you would never have imagined previously? If so – great! That is the art of flexibility.
It is through exercises such as this that we can extract those truly creative ideas and possibly develop them further into our stories. The technique you have just used is an example of brainstorming, which we are about to study in more detail.

In his classic novel 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy', the late great Douglas Adams describes the ordinary towel as: …the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch-hiker can have … you can wrap it around you for warmth, lie on it, sleep under it, use it as a sail on a mini-raft, wet it for use in hand-to-hand combat, wrap it around your head to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal, wave it above your head in emergencies and of course dry yourself with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy' is a book that is full of beautifully creative concepts. There are doors that wish you a happy journey into the next room, fish that when inserted into your ear can translate any alien language, a roast pork that talks to you recommending the best pieces of meat on its body, and an android that is so intelligent it is manically depressed.

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Added on November 23, 2010
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Lady KrimZen
Lady KrimZen

Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia

Eighteen Year Old Full Time Gothic Poet and Part Time Critic