1. SkyBlueSky
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    SkyBlueSky New Member

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    Writer's Block? Try "fishbowling"

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by SkyBlueSky, Jun 26, 2008.

    We've all experienced it. We've all had nightmares about it. When we feel it come upon us we want to puke and probably break something. Yes, I'm talking about...(I shouldn't utter the words but I must!)...Writer's Block

    So what do you do once this plague descends upon you? Well you could try breaking something OR experiment with the cut-up technique, aka "fishbowling."

    Fishbowling is simple to use and can add a level of abstraction to your writing. I should go ahead and mention that this style of writing works best with lyrics and poetry.

    Traditionally, "fishbowling" is when you take a finished and fully linear text and cut it into single words or phrases and then randomly rearrange them to form a new text (resulting in a non-linear text). You should also try writing down non-linear words and phrases and do the exact same thing (resulting in an even more abstract text). Believe me, if you are having trouble getting the ball rolling on your latest poem, this will give it an electrifying jump start. Keep in mind that you do not have to keep your poem in the form after you use this technique. If it turns out the way you want it then AWESOME, but use this to explore new areas that you never would having not tried "fishbowling."




    SkyBlueSky
     
  2. Sandy Banks
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    Sandy Banks Member

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    I've heard of the cut up technique but i've never heard it called "fishbowling". Where does that come from? William Burroughs supposedly used the cut up technique when he wrote "Naked Lunch" and thats like one of my favourate ever books. Also David Bowie used it to write some of his lyrics. Often i'll take random words and sentences from adverts, television, radio, magazines, etc and use it in my writing but i don't necessarily do it cos of writers block, it just sort of happens. Im a media junkey, and it seems to all sift into my head and get distorted and jumbled and then come back out again, like muffled words heard through a de tuned radio. I know some people hate the radomness of books like "Naked Lunch" or whatever, but i personally like the effect produced by the cut up technique. You can put your own interpretations onto the text and there's so many different things happening at once. Its like psychedelic writing.

    My all time favourate is the singer John Lennon. He didnt use the cut up technique but he wasnt choosy about where he took his influences from. His lyrics are all over the place, usually cos he was focussing on so many different things at once rather than just one message or meaning. Even though they are frustrating for people who always want to know a concrete meaning to what they are reading, i love em cos there so crazy.
     
  3. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I saw this used once on a short story and the person who wrote the article was proclaiming how genius the idea, and the resulting cut-up story, were. I didn't see the appeal of it myself though. :/ It just looked like gibberish.

    I guess the thing is I think in quite a linear fashion, so basically taking something and mangling it up doesn't help me whatsoever; it just looks like a mess. I imagine this technique can be more helpful for poem writers (which you seem to be thinking of, since you mention poems), where there's a lot of experimentation with structure and word order, but for somebody who writes novels and serials, where things have to occur in a certain order and the word choices have to be in a more proper order too, it doesn't do much.

    That's just my opinion though. I bet lots of people (including the one I mentioned above) find it useful. *shrug*
     
  4. Night
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    Night Member

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    I also think in a linear fashion, and I write poetry too. I like everything to make sense when it comes to words, so I don't know how well it would work for me. I think it would work for other people, though.
     
  5. SkyBlueSky
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    SkyBlueSky New Member

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    Well I don't think the purpsose is to make your work non-linear. I mean, some writers use it this way, but you could also use it to see your writing from a different light and maybe find some words/phrases you missed before that make your poem better.
     
  6. Michael Davis
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    Michael Davis Member

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    Wow, writing random unconnected passages, paste em together and having them present an enveloping story. I though writing had more creativity and heart then that, but if it works for ya, great.

    I've written four published stories and in two cases, I did hit a wall mid way through. I put the pen away for some time, when out and did some fun things I like to do, and the juices just started flowing again from everyday encounters in life. Just don't force it. If it ain't coming to ya, walk away and do something else, or start a new/different story.

    At least that works for me.
     

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