Creative Techniques for Creative People - Mixology

What is the Mixology Creative Technique?

Mixology is the mixing of ideas derived from different creative techniques to produce a creative cocktail of ideas –  i.e. a list of points-of-departure which can be developed into possible themes for a creative work.

The combining of diverse ideas in different ways is at the heart of all highly creative work. 

Mixology is a Creative Thinking Technique that can quickly assemble a creative cocktail – by mixing different combinations of defined Specific Ideas and General Ideas – from which a creative work or section of a creative work can be further developed.

Whereas the Just Write creative technique is designed to establish a first rough draft, Mixology is the goto technique to generate possible ideas for the further development of a creative work.  These ideas can then be screened against the starting specific ideas, in order to identify which of the ideas generated take you in the right creative direction.  

How does Mythology work?

As with all Glanside Creative Techniques Mixology starts from the Specific Idea.  

In Mixology the Specific Idea – embodying the direction, material, concept or theme that you wish to investigate or dissect – is carefully defined to ensure that you are working on the correct creative problem. 

The defined Specific Ideas are then combined, compared and contrasted with different mixtures of General Ideas, which are generated through the application of a selected range of powerful Creative Thinking Techniques.   

Demonstration: Mixology

The following is a simple illustration of the Mixology creative technique.

Creative direction flows from the specific to the general.

The demonstration begins with Specific Ideas: a clear direction, belief, material, concept or theme that you wish to investigate or dissect.

The Specific Idea

This example of Mixology uses the following two techniques to develop Specific Ideas:

Creative Technique: Attribute Listing

Attribute Listing is the initial definition of the specific ideas – i.e. the key material, concepts or themes you wish to address through your creative work. It is helpful for comparison and analysis purposes if Specific Idea Attributes are defined in similar formats. The following are suggestions for structuring the Attributes you wish to focus on:

  • How to/does…..
  • IWWM (In What Ways Might)….
  • What causes….

Initial definition of the specific ideas for this illustration:

  1. How might a community resist the outsider  – and investigation by an outsider?
  2. How is such a highly suspicious community response to be undermined?
  3. IWWM information – which others could have overlooked – be brought to light?
  4. What impels the actions of the government agent in this case?

Creative Technique: Material Fusion

Material Fusion is the process of fusing additional material with your initial Specific Idea Attributes.  Material Fusion assists in the evolution or further development of your Specific Idea Attributes:

  1. Write down a short description of the nature and/or objectives of the specific ideas you wish to assess (taken from Attribute Listing in this example of Mixology).
  2. Consult any source material that you think is compatible with your objectives – online/offline magazines, books, dictionaries etc.
  3. Select short phrases, objects, or ideas taken from the source material.
  4. Fuse your specific idea descriptions with these new selections from the source material.
  5. Rewrite the specific ideas based on these new idea fusions.
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 until your specific ideas meet your creative objectives.

Summary of specific ideas from Material Fusion:

  • The story told by the unusual participants.
  • Actions that counter the ways that others have behaved.
  • People are always lying and trying to forget as it helps them to survive.

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

‘There are times,’ he said, ‘when the State has a strong foundation.  But when that foundation has been shaken by the calamitous events of recent times, cracks will appear and a contagion of dangerous creatures will make their home in those foundations.  If they are not pulled out they will, given time, cause the entire structure – that is our protection against the raw elements – to collapse.’

The General Idea

The creative thinking techniques described here are a solid base for the further development of creative work.

Other techniques  – from either the Glanside Creative Techniques or Glanside Features website sections – can also be used within the Mixology Technique.

Mixology Technique: Random Words, Objects and Ideas

The seamstress as an example of the artisan.

(Idea taken from an online magazine)

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

She had chosen the disguise of an itinerant seamstress.  Her fingers were nimble and she worked quickly.   She could repair a garment, strengthening its material and restitching its seams in a few minutes.

Mixology Technique: Organics

The following are concepts of a bird:

flight – light – nimble – quiet – specialised – focussed – soaring – specific behaviour – distinct call

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

Her nimble eye, driven by an instinct that had been moulded since the time of her first memories, searched the layout of the town.

Mixology Technique: Laddering

The following is a Word ladder beginning with the first rung word disguise:

Disguise – pretence – illusion – cover up – hideaway – retreat – evasion – façade – cloak – camouflage

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

She travelled with a wagon on which the tools of her cloaking trade were on full display.  The weapons of her real trade were hidden beneath an assortment of cloth designed to distract the onlooker with its colour and pattern.

Mixology Technique: Analogies

Analogy: Like a Magpie

  • Lives off what they can find – insects in the summer – fruit in the winter
  • Will scavenge from any household opportunity
  • Average life expectancy is around three years, although the oldest recorded being more than 21 years old.
  • They will feed on larger prey when the opportunity arises. 
  • Urban and suburban magpies have increased much faster than rural populations. 

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

They were the scavengers, the predators, the pest-destroyers.  They were the agents of the State and the servants of the Deputy Lieutenant.  He had created his own network of investigators.  They were known as magpies.

Possible Development

The Story of a Magpie – an imagined piece from the Applied Glanside section of the website – illustrates how these themes derived from the Mixology Creative Technique 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.