"Draw a circle around your subject. This is the nucleus. Free associate branches of words fanning out from the center. As with freewriting or brainstorming, don't think before you write. Let the words come in waves. Don't be afraid if your words don't mean anything to anyone else but you. Let your pen do the thinking. When one strand runs out, go back to the nucleus and start another. When you come across a word in a branch that is too evocative to skip over, let that word be a nucleus to start another branch. If your mind goes blank, doodle, darkening lines or circles until a new branch sprouts. Let your words grow like ivy on a great elm over the clean page..."
~ Barry Lane
Our nucleus words can be our story lines, our characters, our settings, our conflicts and resolutions - the possibilities are endless. I also love this description by Barry:
"Though it might seem crazy at first, clustering is a wonderful way to chase down ideas without being slowed up by sentences and paragraphs...it allows a writer a chance to explore ideas without putting them into rigid form. Clustering can give you a little elbow room to play with an idea"Clustering is just another tool we can use to help structure our stories and organize our thoughts. There are even multiple tools available on our computers. For someone like me, who is allergic to organizational strategies, this is the perfect tool. It helps me feel organized but let's me be messy while I do it! Perfect!
What is your favorite strategy?