Thursday, November 08, 2018

SMUCKS talk about human biology

Writing stories and brainstorming can overlap. With the SMUCKS approach, I write a discussion on a subject that takes place between the members of the Star Trek crew. The acronym SMUCKS represents the six main Star Trek characters:

1. Spock.
2. McCoy.
3. Uhura.
4. Chekov.
5. Kirk.
6. Scotty.

The discussion between the SMUCKS can lead to just about anywhere, but I like to pick out:

New ideas.
Areas for investigation and exploration.
Fresh tangents.
Gaps in my own knowledge becoming apparent.
Story ideas.


I can use any of the methods that featured in the Methods to generate speech post. For this example I'll use the sound of the writing of two randomly-chosen numbers to inspire ideas for speech.

The subject I'm choosing is human biology because I didn't study it at school and I know very little about it.

I use a dice to choose which of the SMUCKS characters speaks.

So, to start off:

The dice rolls a 6. That means Scotty speaks.
Then the two dice roll a 3 and a 6. I write those numbers and listen to the sound the writing makes.To me - with the subject of human biology in mind -  that sounds like "I could drop dead tonight".

So that gives:

Scotty: I could drop dead tonight.

The conversation continues:

The dice rolls 5 = Kirk speaks.
The two dice roll a 5 and 2. To me that sounds like, "It it was happening, would you know it?"


Kirk: If it was happening, would you know it?

And then I continue the process to develop the conversation:

McCoy. It depends if the brain can still function.
McCoy: It might go on functioning
Chekov: Wait! How could it function?

Kirk: Is it because the brain itself wouldn't be damaged?
Uhura: What if a device could sustain it?
Spock: You'd have to act fast.
Uhura: Or the brain would be deprived of oxygen.
Scotty: What if that was a desirable state?

Chekov: Like you stay at a stage of death?
McCoy: Could you measure the stage?
Spock: Or be at that stage without dying?
Spock: I could see this leading to a discussion on ethics!
Kirk: Or the potential of the human brain.

Spock: Our priority should be to cure mental illness.
Chekov: I wish I could've helped my mother.
McCoy: Did she suffer from mental illness?
Scotty: It's hard to watch a loved one suffer.
McCoy: Which is why this should be a priority.

You can see that the conversation develops and in some ways develops a life of its own. The conversation moved into the subjects of psychology and ethics. On the subject of human biology I became aware of gaps in my knowledge and asked questions such as:
What does the brain need to function?
How damaged could a brain be and still manage to function/produce consciousness?
Could an artificial environment support a brain?
How much oxygen does the brain need?
What does the brain do with oxygen?

I also thought of a good idea for a sci-fi story: A scientist discovers a way to make parts of a brain switch off. At a certain stage a person fills euphoria, but at a later stage they experience an increase in artistic creativity, but that comes with mental illness. Does the scientists turn bad and exploit the artistic creativity of the subjects whilst they suffer?

See also

The SMUCKS talk internet

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

A to Z of useful words.

I've been collecting useful words for many years. That is, words that appear to be key when thinking about a subject, and thus lead to the listing of the most useful information. I've (just about) managed to squeeze them into an alphabet where every letter of the alphabet represents one of the useful words. Here they are:

A: Action.
B: Belief.
C: Cause. (As in something that causes an event. Or a trigger.)
D: Duration. (Any period of time or one specific time.)
E: Event.
F. Feeling. (Or emotion.)
G. Goal. (Or purpose, objective, etc.)
H. Helpful thought. (and positive thoughts. And pros, if listing pros and cons.)
I. Idea.
J. Juncture. (A specific moment in time.)
K. Key-fact.
L. Liver. (Bit of a squeeze; anything that's alive, but usually a person.)
M. Milieu. (Another squeeze. Basically a situation or a scenario.)
N. Negative, unhelpful thought. (Or con, if listing pros and cons.)
O. Object. (As in a tangible object.)
P. Problem.
Q. Question or quibble. (The questions are any question that may arise about a subject. The quibbles are attacks, challenges etc.)
R. Result. (Or consequence.)
S. Solution. (As in the solution to a problem.)
T. The Big Picture. (Or The Whole Affair. Or The Story So Far.)
U. Utterance.
V. A Place. (Another squeeze. I think of the V as representing an arrow that points to a place.)
W. Words. (Or body of words. Ranging from single words up to books etc.)
X. Mistake. (The X represents the crossing out of a mistake.)
Y. Decision. (The stem of the Y representing a direction of thought and the "V" part representing options available, thus a decision.)
Z. Zoom to the future. (Expectations.)

Using the words.

Say the subject is London.

I'll use the format: Name London X

and select a random letter for the X. So Q for quibble would give:

Name a London quibble.

Possibilities: Too much rubbish. Too much pollution. Travel is expensive. Etc.

Another example:

Name a London milieu (situation, scenario):

Possibilities: The New Years Eve celebrations. Crowding on the tube. The Queen's birthday celebrations. Terror attacks. Etc.


I like to use two of the words in combination.


Name a London KZ =  Name a London key-fact expectation.

Possibility: If I research London I'll find lots of interesting facts I didn't know.

Example 2:

Name a London ER = event result.

Possibilities: Winner of the FA Cup. Spectators' ratings of the 2012 Olympics. The role of the London Marathon in motivating people to keep fit. Etc.

The Pangram

I pick the random letters from the following pangram:

The five boxing wizards jump quickly.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Methods to generate speech

These methods help to generate dialogue or ideas for:

A: Stories.
B: Brainstorms.

When writing a story it's really hard to write dialogue out of thin air. Similarly with brainstorming it's hard to pluck ideas out of nothing. These methods make generating speech and ideas easier by creating speech from existing sounds: You listen to either the sound that a dice makes when rolled in a container, or  the sound a pen makes when you write. Then, in your head, you generate words that are kind of "suggested" by the sound.

The Methods

NB: With these methods the chosen topic is London.

Method 1 . Using the sound of writing.

With method 1 I roll two dice and then write the two numbers from the dice onto paper. I listen closely to the sound the pen makes on the paper when I write, and generate speech that is suggested by that sound.

The numbers 3 and 1 are written on paper thus:

The sound, converted into speech, gave:

What did we lose in the Blitz?

Here's a few more numbers the dice rolled, and the London-related speech that was generated from the sound of the writing:

65: Where did all the monarchs live?
11: When will you go?
36: You get the Chelsea pensioners.

Method 2

With method 2 I roll one dice and listen to the sound the dice makes - the rattling - in its container and generate speech based on that sound.

With the London topic in mind, I rolled and generated the following lines:

Has it always been the capital?
What's the crime rate?
I like the Christmas lights.

Other methods

Only one dice and a single number

This is obviously a variation on Method 1.

The dice is rolled:

and then the number on the dice is written:

and then the sound is interpreted. In this case I interpreted the pen sound as:

Could it flood again?

Coin sphere

With this method I use the noise generated by a coin rattled in a spherical container.

Using letters

With this method I pick a couple of letters from a sentence I've already written on paper and write them out and use that sound to generate the speech.

I pick the letters "lo".

and write them out:

The sound of the writing of "lo" when applied to the topic of London's Blitz led to:

Where did my own family go?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Monday, August 17, 2015

CLMR Options

This CLMR acronym is a tool for assumption busting. (Pronounced as "Calmer".)

My daughter turned to me one day and said, "Let's draw a robot!" If we went straight to the task we'd probably end up drawing a typical cartoon-style robot. However, the CLMR acronym suggests we take a pause, take a step back, and look at other options that are just as valuable.The letters stand for:

C = Create
L = List
M = Make up (Guess or Lie)
R = Research

If we want to draw a robot and the directive we have in mind is "draw a robot" then the CLMR options would suggest:

Create a robot 

We'd ignore existing robots and wade into the creative process to generate our own idea of a robot.

List Robot

We'd make a list of existing robots. Robots from movies, fiction, books, etc. We could select one to draw.

Make up

We could guess about either a robot that existed or one that will exist. For example, we could make a guess about what robots will appear in future Star Wars movies. We could guess what ideas were considered during the preliminary design stages of C3PO or R2D2 etc. All guesswork - no wrong answers!


Imagination can run riot for the lie! We could imagine that a robot had been invented to help round the home. What would it look like? What jobs would it do?


To do research we could pick one of the robots listed above (by the List option) and do some research on it. A good place to start is an image search. Obviously Wikipedia, too. 

DO IT technique

This is a nice simple process to approach creativity.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hindsight-How to...More and More

As explained in the FOLIO Simplified  post, the How to...more and more (which was called "Creative-mentor" in that FOLIO simplified post) nudges thinking towards creative thinking. It's like I imagine there's a mentor with me who sets a creative challenge, with the challenges always being in the same format. Here's some examples of challenges in the How to...more and more format:

How to make (reading) more and more (enjoyable).
How to make (libraries) more and more (popular).
How to make (paper books) more and more (durable).
How to make (my singing) more and more (melodious).
How to make (learning maths) more and more (painless).

Obviously those are all simple, creative challenges. The template to form challenges like that would be:

How to make (topic) more and more (random adjective).

Purpose of Hindsight-How to...more and more

The purpose of the Hindsight-how to...more and more (that's getting to be a bit of a mouthful!) is to generate more angles on a topic, more perspectives. Especially with a view to generating ideas.

The Hindsight-how to... more and more

To do a Hindsight how to...more and more, I pick an idea and ask:

If this idea were the product of a challenge in the format "How to make (topic) more and more (adjective)", what would the specifics of that challenge be? What would have been in the "topic" and "adjective" sections?

For example, if I had this idea:

Go swimming more often.

then I can reason that swimming has an effect on my body (thus "my body" is the topic), and an adjective that would describe the changes I want to happen to my body could be "fit". Thus:

How to make (my body) more and more (fit).

Or I could reason that my swimming has an effect on the local swimming pool, and an adjective that describes the changes to swimming pool is "profitable". Thus:

How to make (local swimming pool) more and more (profitable).

Some more possibilities could be:

How to make (my weekends) more and more (varied).
How to make (my childhood learnings) more and more (relevant). 

Thus, just from the simple starting idea of  "go swimming more often", the Hindsight-How to...more and more produces the following information - new angles and perspectives:

My body
Making my body fitter
The local swimming pool
Making the local swimming pool more profitable
My weekends
Making my weekends more varied
My childhood learnings
Re-applying my childhood learnings

All of these are great areas to think about about and apply some creative thinking. 

Other focuses

In the above examples I've applied the Hindsight-How to...more and more  just to ideas, but I can apply it to anything - objects, beliefs, people, activities, thought experiments, problems, goals, etc. For example, for the topic: my pet dog,  the Hindsight-how to...more and more could give:

How to make (my home) more and more (friendly).
How to make (the weekly food shop) more and more (expensive).(!)
How to make (my walks) more and more (enjoyable).

As another example, for the topic the moon I can have in my mind the idea that the moon was the product of a Hindsight-How to...more and more, almost like it was the product of a creative project - like someone sat down and invented the moon! Thus:

How to make (the solar system) more and more (full).
How to make (the sea) more and more (tidal).
How to make (the night sky) more and more (bright).

More examples applied to ideas

So, here I apply Hindsight-How to...more and more to end up with a sentence in the format:

How to make (topic) more and more (adjective).

The ideas are underlined in italics, and the result of the Hindsight-How to...more and more  (a How to...more and more) is under each one.

Link up with people reading the same book.

= How to make (book's readership) more and more (familiar).

What's the best way to find books that might interest me?

= How to make (my resources) more and more (productive)

How to relearn everything I've forgotten since leaving school?

= How to make (my old textbooks) more and more (useful) 

Make reading obsolete by inventing a way to download books to your brain.

= How to make (the human brain) more and more receptive. 

Could I get a kindle?

How to make (my reading habits) more and more (frequent).

I could go through my books and sort them out.

How to make (my book shelf) more and more (organised). 

I could read more non-fiction.

How to make (my reading habits) more and more (diversified). 

I could dig a book out right now and read.

How to make (my present moment) more (productive).

Could I read some of the classics?

How to make (my reading mindset) more (experimental)?

Could I make a list of the books I enjoyed as a child and pass them on to my children?

How to make (my childhood experiences) more and more (influential).

Contribute to the local library. Give some books away.

How to make (my old books) more and more(appreciated).

Read a book that doesn't interest me at all.

How to make (my cerebral pursuits) more and more (adventurous).

Write critical reviews of books I hate on Amazon.

How to make (my book opinions) more and more (widespread).

Try to design a cover for a book.

How to make (my creativity) more and more (design-oriented).  

Live in a cave and spend all day reading.

How to make (my life) more and more (bizarre). 

Read Chairman Mao's Little Red Book.

How to make (the world's famous books) more and more familiar. 

Read up on understanding the economy.

How to make (my financial knowledge) more and more (diverse).

Taking a Step Towards Creativity

I can get creative by simply replacing any adjective with another random adjective. For example, with:

How to make (my creativity) more and more (design-oriented).

I can replace the design-oriented with:

How to make (my creativity) more and more (splashy)
Interpretation = How to make my creativity more involved with generating family fun.

How to make (my creativity) more and more (relaxing)
Interpretation = to make a creative contribution to the areas of meditation and mindfulness. Develop a new mindfulness technique maybe?

How to make (my creativity) more and more (lazy)
Interpretation = I usually sit down at a desk and graft out ideas (especially when writing jokes). Why not try just "planting seeds" in my mind, have an incubation period, and see what my mind comes up with by inspiration?

More examples

Original: How to make (the human brain) more and more (receptive)
Alternative: How to make (the human brain) more and more (secure)
Interpretation: What would be ways to make the brain safer from accidents?

Original: How to make (the present moment) more and more (productive).
Alternative: How to make (the present moment) more and more (smelly).
Interpretation: Put some incense on!

Original: How to make (my childhood experiences) more and more (influential).
Alternative: How to make (my childhood experiences) more and more (nocturnal).
Interpretation: An idea that appeals this!...Use lucid dreaming experiences to revisit memories from my childhood.

See also:

How to create a list of adjectives quickly

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My memory technique

On my John's Memory Systems blog I've posted a memory technique I've devised, the Adjective and Verb memory technique.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

A New Blog About Lucid Dreaming Experiments

I've started a new blog where I'll be posting my lucid dreaming experiments (I don't want to clutter up this blog with all the experiments I'm doing!) The most important challenge there is to simply find strategies that lead to the most lucid dreams.

Lucid Dreaming Experiments 

 I'll be posting some new creativity techniques on this blog very soon.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

SSILD Lucid Dreaming Technique

There is now a blog about the SSILD lucid dreaming technique:

SSILD lucid dreaming