Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A technique for listing information about a subject

I use this technique for listing information about a subject. I call it the possession string. The technique is used in the following format:

A has B
B has C
C has D


It's a quick way to generate a sizeable list of information about a subject.


Suppose my subject is: airport. I start by listing something an airport has:

(A has B) Airport has plane (s)

then list something that a plane has:

(B has C) Planes have passengers

and continue thus:

Passengers have luggage
Luggage has contents
Contents have weight

More examples

Cinemas have seats
Seats have moviegoers
Moviegoers have popcorn
Popcorn has flavour
Flavour has recipe

Olympics has competitors
Competitors have events
Events have records
Records have record-book
Record-book has categories

Underground has trains
Trains have maps
Maps have layout
Layout has designer
Designer has brief

Where does the subject come from?

If I'm doing 'blank page' creativity (Starting out with no particular creative focus in mind) then I can use the reverse-reach method; that is, I imagine a prompter question (or questions) that someone could have asked me that made me give that subject as an answer. Example:

Subject: London underground

Possible reverse-reach question(s) that give 'London underground' as an answer:

Name a polluted part of London?
Name something under the ground?
Name something that uses trains?
Name a way to get into London?

I can then pick any of these questions and then think of other answers that could have been created. Example:

Name a polluted part of London?

Possible answers: the roads, the Thames, the car exhausts, Oxford Street, smog clouds.

Then I can pick one of these as my subject for a possession-string exercise:

Oxford Street has shops
Shops have workers
Workers have hours
Hours have limit
Limit has legislation

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