Justify the … Idea. It’s How I Write

In my theatre arts class, we play a game called Justify the Pose. I say ‘go,’ and everyone tears off around the room doing whatever they like. When I call ‘stop,’ they  must freeze in whatever awkward position they find themselves in, whether they are mid-step or standing on a desk. Then I call out a couple people’s names and they have to justify the pose, on the spot they have to think up a situation in which they might find themselves in this position and then act it out. It’s a great game to get the actors thinking creatively about how to understand certain situations.

Recently, I began to realize that this is exactly how I write. I try to justify the idea.

This is a great way to generate ideas and force a writer to think creatively about a certain idea. Here’s how it works. A random image pops in my head and I immediately think what could justify this situation. What would be the back story? Why would this person be in this situation at this time?

My entire second novel was started on a premise like this. One day I had a random thought of a woman from a second story window seeing a man below wearing a red hat. That’s all I needed to write an entire novel. I began thinking why this woman would be interested in a man wearing a red hat. What was his relationship to her?  Was he a bad man? Was he trying to hide something?

I’m currently working on a trilogy which is based on the same time of premise: a strange image which makes no sense, but I forced myself to give it meaning and make it make sense. In doing so, it forced me to think creatively and I ended up with a novel (and soon to be novels) which are beyond what I thought I could ever think of. But I now know that’s not the case. I can make anything work if I give it enough time and brain power.

So give it a try. Take an idea, a random idea, a bizarre idea and try to justify it. It’s fun and you never know what you’ll end up with.


Creative Writing: The Tried and True becomes the Tried and New

There is nothing new under the sun. No new plots to uncover. No new experiences to be told about. Creativity is in the realm of re-hashing the common and already told into a refreshing and new take. Creativity is taking that situation and putting your unique twist on it that only you could have created.

I was pondering this the other day as I began writing a short play about a billionaire who died and the family is gathered together to hear the reading of the will.

How many times have you seen that scenario displayed? Plenty.

So why would I want to tackle it anew?

Because I have never done it. I will bring my own ideas, my own characters and their quirky traits, my own specific situation, and my own purpose. The stated scenario may seem bland, but the little comedy that I wrote will be anything but.

And that’s really what I love about creativity. Finding that nugget which has yet to be unearthed in a common scenario.

I had mentioned this before on this blog of how I had been afraid to be a writer because I felt that everything had already been written – that if I could think of something then someone else had already thought of it and probably written it better than me.

Well, that was foolish thinking, really. I had a friend in college where we would pick a word or theme and then write a poem about it with the purpose of seeing how different they would end up being from each other.

Of course they were day and night. And that’s a beautiful reality for a writer.

I’ve been encouraged not to stay away from the tried and true because in the hands of a creative soul, the tried and true becomes the tried and new.

Keep creating everyone!

A Momentary Stare at a Blank Page

Before I go and write I wanted to reflect on the blank page that awaits me.

I have an idea in my head and I am ready to start putting it on paper. Two hours from now the blank will be filled, but I am not yet sure what I will have.

Will the words be meaningful? Will the plot fit together? Will my jumbled idea about 4 chairs suddenly flow and stream the right emotions to touch an audience? Will it be moving? Will it be memorable? Will people walk away and ponder? Will they be entertained? Will they be changed?

But right now it’s only blank.

Only time stands in its way. It’s pure the way it is. It’s an untapped idea, but once I start exploring it will no longer be that way. Once I begin, the ideas and thoughts that rattle around in my mind will be affected by it. I will no longer be the same once the page no longer stands empty.

But right now it’s only blank.

The muse has spoken. All it needs is time and direction to rearrange the letters, to blend all the words, to connect all the ideas, to form something larger than each of its individual parts. All it needs is time and that is what I will now give it.

Right now it’s only blank.

But now for long.