Just Write

Creative Techniques for Creative People - Just Write

What is the Just Write Creative Technique?

Glanside divides the creative process into Warp Techniques – the fundamental ideas that structure an artistic work – and Weft Techniques – the addition of shading, colour and texture.

The Just Write Technique is a Warp Technique that is designed to establish a rough draft of a work, which can then be further developed.  

Just Write is a series of creative steps that provide a first rough working of a creative artwork or text.

How does Just Write work?

Just Write – as with all creativity – starts with a specific idea. The specific ideas – embodying the direction, material, concept or theme that you wish to investigate or dissect – which are then developed in possible alternative directions by the creation of general ideas driven by a progression of Just Write techniques.

Just Write is actually a series of thinking techniques that are designed to get you to a first rough draft. In Just Write a series of creative steps will produce an initial outline to a section of creative work – or indeed to a complete creative work depending on the nature of the project you are working on.

It is important that you do not attempt to over develop or over finish your work with this creative thinking technique; instead Just Write.

Once you have a first rough draft there are other Glanside Creative Techniques that are designed to add the Weft (i.e. the shading, colour and texture) to the Warp (i.e. the essential ideas represented in the first rough draft).

Demonstration: Just Write

This demonstration of the Just Write Creative Technique has been kept short for the purpose of illustration.

The Specific Idea

Subject Matter: the following phrases describe features of the history of Stratford-upon-Avon.

Phrases defining the specific idea: –

  • One of the earliest brick houses was the Swan’s Nest Hotel, built about 1673, and the bricks are known to have been made on the site.  Bridge Street was also being rebuilt in brick at that time.
  • The fire of 1594 consumed a great part of the west side of Chapel Street and of High Street, Wood Street, and Henley Street.
  • Hugh Clopton is thought to have died before settling property on the trustees for the upkeep of Clopton Bridge in Stratford-upon-Avon. Four wardens were chosen to see to the maintenance of Hugh Clopton’s Bridge, which was primarily paid for by a bridge toll.
  • In Elizabethan England a licence was required for travel which helped stop the spread of disease. The licence was obtained from the Bailiff in the Guild Hall.
  • Alehouse keepers were kept strictly under the council’s control. They were not allowed to brew their own ale.  In 1556 John Shakespeare was appointed to the position of ‘Ale Taster’ which controlled the brewing and quality of Ale sold in the town.

The General Idea

The creative thinking techniques described here are ideal for the inception of a first rough draft of a creative work.

These techniques can be used in any order and other techniques – from either the Glanside Creative Techniques or Glanside Features website sections – can also be used within the Just Write Technique.

Just Write Technique: Chains

Chains creates an overview of possible creative themes in the form of an illustration. In Chains each chain begins with a specific idea and extends out into a linked series of general ideas.

The following rules apply in the Chains Technique:

  1. An idea is just a link in a chain of knowledge.
  2. A chain is a relationship between two or more ideas.
  3. A relationship is a general law applying to two or more ideas in the chain.

Summary of the output from the Just Write Technique: Chains

Creative Technique Chains

Derived Themes (i.e points-of-departure which can be further developed in a potential text):

  • The importance of understanding the flow of things, and the powerful consequences of inhibiting that flow.
  • A fire destroyed the Fleece Tavern, whilst leaving the brick-built Swan’s Nest, nearby, relatively unaffected.
  • Everyone else fought over the pennies, but he took control of the flow beer into the Ale Houses.
  • Chief Warden of Clopton Bridge can not only collect the Bridge Toll but he could also decide who pays it.

Just Write Technique: 5W1H

Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?

Example questions for Just Write Technique: 5W1H

  • What is making his power base?
  • What were the consequences of the fires of the 1560s?
  • Where are the levers of power in this town?
  • What are the essential flows of a community?

Derived Themes (i.e points-of-departure which can be further developed in a potential text):

  • Dictating which breweries or Ale Houses meet the required standard, or adjusted the standards to profit those producers who evidence their allegiance.
  • The flow of sheep and sheep products across the bridge is the significant flow in Stratford-upon-Avon, second only to the flow of water in the form of Ale.
  • The power generated when you restrict the flow of trade across Clopton Bridge.

Just Write Technique: CAMERA

(Combine – Arrange – Modify – Eliminate – Reverse – Adapt)

The CAMERA creative technique modifies the starting (specific) idea by applying one of the CAMERA methods.

Derived Themes (i.e points-of-departure which can be further developed in a potential text):

  • He could not get to be the Bailiff of the Guild Hall – but he could become the Chief Warden of Clopton Bridge.
  • Clopton Bridge was a source of revenue – but it could equally become a door that restricts entrance.
  • A dictator climbs up the ladder – but will then try to make the climb harder for those following him.

Just Write Technique: So What?

The So What? technique involves thinking through the consequences that could follow from the opening statement.

Derived Themes (i.e points-of-departure which can be further developed in a potential text):

  • Through watching the river he has come to understand the flow of things – and the consequences should powerful flows be obstructed.
  • Everything could be swept away by fire – The way to the lasting memory is to build in brick.
  • Brick is expensive – so inflating income becomes an imperative.
  • If there is too much power in one pair of hands – others will attempt to slacken the grip.

Just Write Technique: Creative Springboards

Creative Springboards are phrases that begin in a manner that invites a development of one of the themes identified in the previous Just Write Techniques.

The following are examples of phrase stems could be used as creative springboards:

  • The truth is…..
  • It was no use pretending….
  • Nobody could accuse….
  • The best thing about
  • I wish I had….

Derived Themes (i.e points-of-departure which can be further developed in a potential text):

  • Nobody could accuse the Bailiff of the Guild Hall of not taking full advantage of his position.
  • The best thing about Clopton Bridge was getting over it.
  • The one mistake he made was to underestimate just how many people were involved.
  • From the beginning he had watched the moods of the River Avon

Possible Development

The Obituary of Edward Stone – an imagined article from the Applied Glanside section of the website – illustrates how these themes, derived from the Creative Technique Just Write, could be further developed into a creative text.  

Essential Glanside

A detailed process to manage the use of Creative Techniques for the development of original artwork and written work is set out in the section Essential Glanside.