The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, March 16, 2012

Newspapers are good for more than training puppies...

I was asked to do an article on writing for a science fiction writer's textbook. I love assignments like this, the chance to offer suggestions to newbies, as wonderful writers like Ray Bradbury, Larry Niven, Harlan Ellison and Gordy Dickson did to me, early in my own career.

I offered the concept of the "Machine" a way of organizing your writing life so that you are inputting ten words for every word you write, and writing a story a week or every other week. To accomplish this, you need a fluid flow of creativity, and fear will force many people into writer's block. As a defense against this, I suggested the "Newspaper" exercise, just for fun.


Open the newspaper and give yourself one minute to find an article upon which to base a story idea. You don't have to write the story, but DO block it out briefly. This kind of exercise gives you invaluable skills. It is important that you have confidence in your ability to think yourself out of any corner you might back yourself into, that you can generate a hundred ideas an hour for days at a time. And the only way you can do that is to practice generating creativity on demand.

You'll find hundreds of more practical, immediately applicable but generative ideas in the LIFEWRITING YEAR LONG course, available NOW!

1 comment:

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