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C is for Creativity

D&D YouTubers make me feel very pedestrianTue, 10:40 PM

Me on Hangouts

That was a few days ago. This city discussion in Dael Kingsmill’s video on witches is in D&D prompted the comments. At the time I was once again reminded of how average my game soon to me. I generally do not think of myself as a creative person yet I want to move on to a final career in a very creative feel.

Trying to learn to be creative is something I’ve been doing on and off for decades, much like writing fiction. Probably the most useful way that I have been countered is an idea from Stephen Donaldson. Discuss is it at length in the author’s note to his novel The Real Story. It’s a fairly typical idea in that it’s a mashup. The thing that separates his mashup from a lot of other mashup ideas is instead of saying take two things, he adds make one of them something normal and recognizable. Make the other one something unusual. This is kind of funny given what he considers usual and unusual in the example at hand. The usual part of the series is modeling it on Götterdämmerung from Wagner any earlier than that from German myth.

The unusual part is a character’s name.

I used this method in a D&D campaign pitch last month. The two ideas I combined were Stargate Atlantis and the desire to find new lands by younger sons that was a large motivating force in the First Crusade. Perhaps I should not laugh at Donaldson so much, because I see the First Crusade as the unusual one of those two ideas.

What is interesting is I did not arrive at that idea directly through Donaldson’s IDF. While I had read the novel before I conceived the idea, either I did not read the author’s note or I did not remember it. I would go back and reread the author’s note when J Daniel Sawyer discussed it at length in an episode of The Everyday Novelist.

I conceived the idea originally via another popular method. I played the “what-if game?”. To be exact my roommate at the time had been watching a lot of Stargate Atlantis. I needed a new RPG campaign idea and I thought to myself how could Stargate Atlantis works as D&D. I liked the idea of individuals going off through a gate to explore new worlds and combined my knowledge of the formation of the Crusader States after the First Crusade was Stargate Atlantis.

The two things and collision method requires you to have the two things to begin. I started doing an exercise I picked up from James Altuche via N. A. Turner’s book How to Write a Short Story of once a day writing down 10 ideas. Altuche says not to save those lists and in fact, even says that when he finds all this said he left lying around most of the ideas the key thing about them is that you’re getting your brain in the habit of generating ideas on command.

This is useful because when you have that spark to start either through a writing prompt or some Grand Idea that comes out of your mind spontaneously, you need that second idea to strike against it like flint and steel. Having trained your brain to come up with the second idea on demand, or better yet a list of 10 of them, means that the brilliant idea can have something to spark off. As you write, these sparks might create better ideas like the roaring fire you get from flint, steel, and tinder eventually, but it needs that initial spark to strike against

I have discussed adopting this 10 idea generation idea at more length in my Groundhog Day post for this year (links to the original are there). It is one of four ideas together from that author which I have grouped together as inviting luck into life. I do not know if luck will be my L injury, but I do recommend looking at it for anyone looking to build a better life.

There are two final notes on creativity I want to add to this post. The first is its creation is a bit of an exercise in creativity. I am dictating the first draft of this into my phone because I did not write the sea entry on Friday the 2nd as I have planned. I planned to do this because I’m spending all day Saturday driving from one end of the country to the other. Because I didn’t write it and I don’t want to lose a lot of time on the road I am dictating the first draft. When I stop from lunch I will clean it up and post it. If this post is a bit rough please understand that part of its conception.

The final thing I would like to do is I’m a link to a John Cleese video. Is a presentation he gave on creativity that has had a great deal of impact on me. It is about habits of mind and how creativity is a process that can be learned as opposed to some and eat Talent. Somebody believes they are not created which is an important thing to understand finally, his discussion on seriousness police reported ahead entry which will probably be seriousness.

Having listened to the video after dictating the first draft, I was very tempted to re-write the whole post, but then I’d be regurgitating Cleese, not sharing my thoughts. The entire thing, from the advice to the timing to the use of language is exceptional. Just spend the 40 minutes and watch it.

C is for creativity, and creativity is a gift we can all learn exercise.


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