I. Writing Variables Every writer considers the following: Topic Audience Purpose Form Personal Goals Voice
A. Finding a Topic People should write about what they know Knowing a lot about your topic beforehand is not essential It’s more fun to explore a topic you don’t know anything about but would like to learn more about
1. Interest Inventory An interest inventory might include categories like these: Favorite subjects Least favorite subjects Favorite sports Least favorite sports Favorite musicians Least favorite musicians Books I’ve enjoyed Books I’ve disliked People I admire People I would avoid Foods I like Foods I dislike Comfortable places Uncomfortable places Favorite TV shows Least favorite TV shows What I do well What I can improve Careers that interest me Careers I’m not interested in
2. Knowledge Inventory Think about what you already know about the subject. Some questions you might ask: 1. What do I already know about ____? 2. Have I ever seen or experienced ____? What did it look or feel like? What impressions did it leave? 3. How do other people seem to regard ____? 4. What have I read about ____? Where? 5. What movies or TV shows have I seen about ____? 6. What unusual things have I noticed about ____? 7. What questions would I like answered about ____?
3. Recalling and Reflecting When you RECALL something, you simply think back on it, trying to create an image in your mind. When you REFLECT on something you have recalled, you ask yourself questions about its significance.
4. Observing It means using your senses to gather information. Observing means more than merely looking; it means becoming aware of what makes each person, place, thing, or situation SPECIAL. Some qualities you can observe using your senses:
5. Imaging Imaging is calling up pictures in your mind you’ve never seen before (imagining). Creating imaginary images can be a great deal of fun because you are free to think about absolutely anything.
6. Trigger Words The best trigger words are those that stimulate emotional associations, questions, memories, or fantasies. When you’re stuck for writing ideas, you can simply flip through a dictionary and look at words at random. Think about the feelings, images, and experiences you associate with these words until an idea for writing occurs to you.
7. Idea Exchange Writers often exchange ideas with each other. Such an exchange helps each writer to test the strength of his or her thinking. It stimulates new ideas.
8. Creative Questioning Creative questioning helps you to look at the world in fresh light. Ask yourself questions that begin with the words “What if?” Creative questions are only limited by your imagination.
9. Jay-Cuesor The Five W’s and How Questions Questions that begin with who, what, where, when, why, or how. Questions such as these allow you to investigate an idea in depth. 1. WHAT? What happened? What is it? What does it mean? 2. WHO? Who is responsible? Who else is involved? 3. WHERE? Where does it happen? Where can I get information? 4. WHEN? When does it happen? When will it change? 5. WHY? Why does it happen? Why should people care? 6. HOW? How does it work? How can we change it?
10. Browsing As you flip through source materials, ideas may simply “jump off the page.” Those ideas may stimulate your imagination or memory and trigger new ideas.
11. Gleaning If you pay attention to what is going on around you, you may find ideas in unexpected places. Gleaning is the gathering of bits and pieces of information for the purpose of formulating writing ideas.
Topics for Practice Recall a time when you felt very happy and reflect on it. Freewrite in your Writer’s NB for 5 minutes about that time. Browse through the newspapers to find several current issues that concern you. Have a dialogue with yourself to sort out your feelings on one of these issues. Record the dialogue in your Writer’s NB.
Limiting Your Topic Select one example or person that represents your subject. Subject Music Limited Topics Country [example] Taylor Swift [person] Limit your subject to a specific time or place. Subject Children’s toys Limited Topics Children’s toys in the 1980’s [time] Children’s toys in Batanes [place] Children’s toys in colonial Philippines [time and place]
Limit your subject to a specific event. Subject Natural disasters Limited Topics Ondoy catastrophe of 2009 The night our house was struck by lightning Limit your subject to a specific condition or purpose. Subject Computer Games Limited Topics Uses of computer games in education [purpose] Effects of addictiveness to computer games