By in Writing

Going Off On A Tangent

Going Off On A Tangent (GOOAT)

Brainstorming, word association, going off on a tangent. All techniques to generate ideas, all variations on a theme. I thought about this after I had written this post - Review of Curious by Ian Leslie . I explained that Leslie believes the internet stifles curiosity. I asked if it would be possible to write software that encouraged creative thinking (Leslie argues that the internet's ability to give instant answers makes deep curiosity redundant). I thought about my own writing method here. I tend not to use other members' posts to generate ideas. I look to my own experience, the news and my interests to provide topics. Not creative and not original.

I could use word association to go off on a tangent to generate endless ideas. As an example I thought about the name "Leslie". Two thoughts came to me:-

Leslie- John Leslie- Blue Peter presenter- Blue Peter- my favourite funny video featuring a baby elephant running amok live on air - post about funniest videos and link to the clip of the crazy baby elephant.

Leslie- Boys Name and a girls name- How about a post featuring famous men with girls names? - John Wayne (real name Marion)- Shirley Crabtree- professional UK wrestler, Giant Haystacks- I wonder how many more I an find?

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Scorpie wrote on September 26, 2014, 4:14 PM

This would be a good time for a math joke.

AliCanary wrote on September 26, 2014, 4:50 PM

Actually, for me the internet PROVOKES curiosity and stimulates it...all those delicious links to other stuff! You can start reading about labor laws and click on something about child miners and then go on to an article about Newcastle and click an ad for vacations in Europe and google some stuff and end up reading one of Kasman's articles on Persona Paper about walking in the Scottish highlands or looking at Ellis's photos of St Ives!

tinamarie wrote on September 26, 2014, 5:04 PM

I think my brain used to work as fast, but not anymore.

Feisty56 wrote on September 26, 2014, 7:11 PM

Your photo of the goat reminds me how much I'd like to have one for a pet, but since I really know little about them, not much fodder for writing. Oh wait, you mean we should do some research too? : )

BarbRad wrote on September 26, 2014, 7:33 PM

Creative and original isn't always better. I still think writing what you know is best when writing nonfiction. Save the creative stuff for poetry and fiction, or for the way you express yourself.

GemOfAGirl wrote on September 26, 2014, 10:35 PM

I don't know if the internet encourages or discourages curiosity, but I do know that if I'm curious about something, I now have a more instantaneous tool to satisfy that. Back in the stone age (pre-internet), if some question crossed my mind, and I wasn't already in the library, I'd just wonder about it for a few seconds and then try to forget about it and move on to something else.

JanetJenson wrote on September 27, 2014, 1:52 AM

I think that the internet makes us more curious, not less so. As for the math joke scorpie the only one I know is about how there are 3 kinds of people: Those who can count and those who cannot.

MegL wrote on September 27, 2014, 8:39 AM

I definitely think the internet helps satisfy curiosity and also provokes more, as well as random connections. I used to read encyclopaedias when I was young - there was very little TV for children and no electronic games - but it still didn't have all the answers i was looking for. The internet can provide many ways of answering but also of provoking.