Working Through Time

Working Though Time: Outline

‘Working Through Time‘ is an effective way of developing the plot and other structures for a creative text. 

Working Though Time: Essential Details

‘Working Through Time’ enables you to identify an initial creative theme, and then allows you to experiment relatively quickly with alternative developments of the plot and the creative approach.

‘Working through Time’ starts with an initial subject – and then uses different creative techniques to provide solutions for the development of that subject. 

Beginning with a short description of the starting situation, developments in the scenario are envisaged for when different periods of time have elapsed – for example – periods of one hour, one day, one week, one month, and so on.

The following illustration shows the development of just one idea, selected from a range of possible solutions.  It should be noted that creativity should always be divided into the separate processes of creating ideas and developing ideas.  The range of ideas derived from creative techniques needs examination before one is chosen for further development.  The danger of developing the first idea you come across, is the rejection of all the ideas that would have come later.   

Working Though Time: Illustration

Specific Ideas – Choosing The Subjects

Creative techniques can be applied to any starting point or ‘specific ideas’.  

The chosen combination of specific ideas is crucial to the creative process. The manner in which you define the problem to be investigated, and the ideas you mix in order to embody that problem, is an essential part of the creative development of your work.

Here the specific ideas will be defined as: – 

  • The Temple
  • ‘Mediaeval society – those who pray, those who fight, those who work’. 

Creativity always flows from ‘the specific’ (the problem) to ‘the general’ (ideas generated as potential creative solutions).

The above specific ideas are combined and then developed using the following creative techniques:

General Ideas – Creative Treatment

Creative Technique: Addition & Subtraction

Add: Adversity to the situation

Subtract: Patience from the situation.

Creative Technique: Laddering 

Laddering takes an initial (specific) idea, and then forms ladders of connections (general ideas) that lead off into different aspects of the specific idea

Laddering Cog Diagram structured for this illustration

Working Through Time: A Worked Example

What happened – break of stasis?

  • The purchase of an old house to serve as the temple to a religious sect. 
  • Arriving at the front door with the keys, at the end of the struggle to obtain the funding.  

What happened one hour later?

  • The level of decay in the house is far worse than expected.
  • The need to continue fund raising to address just the essential maintenance becomes clear. 

What happened one day later?

  • It dawns on the sect members the scale of the task they face in earning the funds to achieve the plan that was set out for them.  There can be no funds made available for equipping the temple beyond the absolute basic amenities, until the building is made watertight and a major dry rot infestation is addressed.  
  • However a group of more influential members successfully make an argument that the core purpose of the sect is the pursuit of the holy, and thus the two rooms that appear to be least affected by the dilapidation should be set aside for this purpose, so the sect’s objective could be pursued in a small way whilst work continues.

What happened one week later?

  • Amongst these basic facilities the ordinary members, following their vows, dedicate themselves to long hours of work and fundraising.  There is little time for the lifestyle of prayer and meditation that the cult promised. 
  • The two meditation rooms are converted into warm and comfortable areas that are fitting for the requirement of uninterrupted contemplation of the deity. 

What happens one month later? 

  • The winter advances and the cold becomes more extreme.   
  • It is argued by the older and more influential sect members that the older and more experienced members should take the main weight of the duty of prayer in the two dedicated rooms, by virtue of their poorer health and more developed faith.  All work for the sect is seen as prayer, and carrying out specific meditation and prayer activities is really just a form of work.
  • Because these rooms are warm and day, the working sect members tend to collect there.  The older members see this as against the core principles of the sect, and as interruption to the work of prayer.  They therefore introduce a coloured cloth to be worn only by those who have to perform the difficult task of prayer.  Only those wearing this cloth are permitted in the prayer rooms.

What happens 3 months later?

  • The continuing cold of winter removes any remaining warmth.  It blows away the spiritual and this is replaced  with growing wounds of hardship.
  • Influential philosophy needs a blade, and that blade came in the idea that suddenly appeared to the working members on the coldest day, that prayer should concentrate on the deity in spite of the cold.  The cold is the challenge to a member’s faith that proves the solidity of faith.
  • This belief quickly takes root as the working members realise, however subconsciously, that this was a philosophy that could make the warm and dry rooms available to everybody. 
  • The praying members see such an idea as a challenge to the founding principles of the sect and possible a threat to life and limb, compromising their poorer constitutions.  They become alarmed as the idea gains ground and creates friction, including a series of strikes by sect members working in the kitchens.

What happens 6 months later?

  • As the supply of food becomes more intermittent, the older, praying members seriously consider conceding the temple area to the working members.
  • A group of the older praying members, horrified at this prospect, put a second proposal forward that the kitchen area should become part of the prayer area rather than a working area.
  • Appreciating that there would be resistance to this idea, the older monks make overtures to the members who have been carrying out the heavier tasks.  In return for their help in securing the kitchen, these stockier members will be given the new title and attire of ‘ safeguarding’ members, and would be given access to both the temple and kitchen area in order to carry out their duties. 
  • It was understood amongst the praying members, after all, that safeguarding is also an important form of prayer.