In case you're unaware, there's been a really great discussion about elements, gists and accuracy vs. inspiration going on. I wanted to share the process I went through yesterday when trying to come up with examples for "Becoming", because I think it is really a fun and fast way to get your head around an element that you might be struggling with.
Pick An Element
This is easy.
Pick an item, any item, from the chart. The higher up on the chart you are, the easier or more obvious this whole exercise will feel. The lower, the more specific. Because the purpose of this exercise to increase your understanding and "feel" for an element, I'd recommend something that seems slippery or just plain obtuse to you.
Read The Definition
Using the application, Dramatica.com Dictionary or Subtext, find the original definition for the term. This might be immediately illuminating or might leave you scratching your head. Regardless, make your best effort to wrap your mind around the original intent of the term.
Copy and paste it into a document so you can reference it!
Check In On The Family
No item is an island. The relationships in the model help define and clarify the item.
Where does the item sit within it's respective quad?
* The upper left is the Knowledge position
* The lower right is the Thought position
* The upper right is the Ability position
* The lower left is the Desire position
Does the item have a parent that it sits inside? This parent will provide some "flavor" for the element.
Does the item have children that sit inside of it? If so, the item should imply or give rise to those children.
Jot these down into your document for reference!
Get Your Gist On
So, you now have all the ingredients for your recipe, time to start cooking.
You can set a timer and Iron Chef it or you can keep a note pad and let it simmer like a Crockpot, adding things as they come to you. The main thing is, keeping the context in your mind, to generate as many gists as you can. The more the merrier.
Refine Your Work
After you have a pretty nice collection going, take a step back and evaluate them.
- Do you get the sense of the parent's flavor?
- Could you push the gist to feel more in line with it's position it's quad?
- How does it feel when comparing your gist to the original definition?
- When you consider your gist with it's children, do they feel connected? Could you see how those items could spring forth from your gist?
The more honest with yourself you are here, the further you'll grow. Keep massaging something until it really clicks for you.
Bend Over Backwards
Once you're feeling really confident in your gists, you can broaden your mind further by twisting them. This allows you to find the edges of an item and will probably spur even more ideas!
- How does turning a gist from a negative thing to a positive thing feel?
- Does changing the nouns or adjectives feel? Do some sit well with you and others don't? Try to think about why that is.
- Try to push everything as far as you can. See if you can stretch a gist so far that it starts to sag, then pull it back just enough that it's recognizable again.
Share The Love
What better way to wrap up than to share everything you've learned? If you can, submit your gist ideas to Subtext so that everyone can use them. Or share them here on the forum, so that other's can critique and benefit from your efforts!