Saturday, November 26, 2005

Inger profiling

About this post

Post in a nutshell: An inger is something that will carry out an action on a subject in the future, carries out action now, or has carried out an action in the past. Inger profiling aims to systematically list the ingers. An inger can be a person, place, object etc.

Uses: as a fiction tool the listing of ingers can help you to fill out a story. As a general creativity tool it can help when you are listing information about a subject.

I devised the concept of the 'inger' to aid Directed Free Association and profiling subjects. An inger is, quite simply, anything that carries out an action on a subject, has carried out an action on a subject, or will carry out an action in the future. 'Inger' is one of the category headings:

Duration (Time): Place: Inger: Thing (Object): Person: Having: Doing (Activity): Being: Saying: Feeling: Thinking: Knowledge

The category headings are used for free association (see Directed Free Association and Flip-flop Directed Association) and profiling subjects (see profiling subjects and profiling using category headings).

Listing ingers

Suppose my subject (creative focus) is 'Buckingham Palace'. I can set a directive:

List ingers for Buckingham Palace.

To answer this directive I can simply list anything that carries out an action on Buckingham Palace, has carried out an action in the past, or will (could) carry out an action in the future:

Tourists (visiting)
Rain (weathering)
Cleaners (cleaning)
Guards (guarding)
Architect (designing)
Servant (assisting)
Photographer (photographing)
Historian (chronicaling)

Listing actions

I can alternatively make a list of actions and then consider what carries out the action:

Attacking (satirist, terrorist, anti-monarchist)
Entering (The Queen, Prince Charles, Prime Minister, knighthood recipient, trespasser (!) )
Improving (decorator, The civil list, security expert, designer)
Profiting (from) (United Kingdom, tourist guides, postcard sellers, anyone employed there)
Passing (traffic, pedestrians, tourists, aeroplanes, busses, birds)

Modify ingers using Category Headings

I can modify an inger directive using one of the Category Headings above. For example, I can choose the Category Heading "Person" and form a directive thus:

Name a person-inger of Buckingham Palace.

Then list some actions and name persons/people who could carry out that action:

Cherishing (The royals, the inhabitants, the tourists, the royalists, tourguide operators)
Scandalising (The media, the journalist who infiltrated the ranks of the employees, tabloids, Wallace Simpson)
Filming (BBC1 cameraman, television company staff, tourists, foreign television companies)

The inger cycle

The inger cycle is a useful approach for listing information. It is also a good tool to use when building up information when writing stories. To effect the inger cycle I simply name a subject (A) then name an inger for that subject (B), then name an inger for B (C) etc.


Suppose my subject is "Charles Saatchi" - the art gallery curator. I name an action (annoying, for example) then consider someone who may annoy Charles Saatchi. Say, Brian Sewell the art critic. Which gives:

Charles Saatchi: Brian Sewell (annoying).

Then I list the next action (enthralling, for example) and consider someone who may enthral Brian Sewell. Say, the artist JMW Turner. Which gives:

Charles Saatchi: Brian Sewell (annoying): JMW Turner (enthralling)

I can continue this exercise as long as I like, building up a sizeable list of actions and people. At the end of the listing I cycle back to the beginning. So this means - in this example - that I consider what action Charles Saatchi carries out on JMW Turner. So something like:

Charles Saatchi: rates, collects, hates, envies etc.

I can allow a degree of guessing, especially if I am writing fiction.


I use the aide-memoire inger-x to remind me that (as with random stimuli approaches) I can name the thing that carries out the action first and then specify the action it/they may carry out at some time. For example (with the Buckingham Palace example) if I pick 'Ewan McGregor' for my 'X' then I can list actions such as:

Visit, appear in movie about, pass, read about, research etc.

So my final Category Headings list reads:

Duration (Time): Place: Inger-x: Thing (Object): Person: Having: Doing (Activity): Being: Saying: Feeling: Thinking: Knowledge

No comments: