The Aresan Clan is published four times a week (Tue, Wed, Fri, Sun). You can see what's been written so far collected here. All posts will be posted under the Aresan Clan label. For summaries of the events so far, visit here. See my previous serial Vampire Wares collected here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Creativity & Limitations

It's nice to have lots of freedom to be creative, so that you can do exactly what you want. For example, if you live in a country where there are free speech restriction, this can inhibit your ability to express certain ideas, which can feel stifling. On the other hand, external limitations can spur creativity. External authorities setting limits is exactly what you don't want, but self-imposed limitations can present challenges and push you towards ideas you wouldn't have otherwise. Just as Frost said free verse is like playing tennis with the net down, one could say that limitation is the mother of inventiveness.

One example of this I have found particularly fruitful is to adapt dreams. The thing that's great about dreams is that they're so random, filled with nonsensical details that don't make sense together. So, what I did, as an exercise in creativity was to take all the details of the dream that I remembered and try to make them into a sensible story (using as many of the details as I could), by adding background, context, sci-fi or fantasy elements and so on. So, if I had a dream where I was walking over rolling hills of snow in my bare feet, and my feet felt warm even while on the snow, and to get into my apartment building I had to crawl through a very narrow cave like a spelunker (that's actually the dream I had this afternoon while taking a nap) then I would try to make a story out of those details that actually wasn't random, but was comprehensible. Maybe my apartment had been destroyed by an earthquake so I had to crawl through the rubble; maybe I had an ailment that made me metabolism unbearably high, such that I had to be in light clothing out in the cold just to keep a normal temperature; maybe it'd just become really warm after a huge snow storm; or whatever. I tried this many times, and some of the results are off the wall.

Certainly it's not the only way you could try to spurn creativity this way, but it's one way to get really uniquely creative ideas.

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