A Curriculum for Writers of Fiction

by Win Wenger, Ph.D.
Winsights No. 70 (October/November 2003)

Every now and then, in answer to specific questions, I generate letters which become topics for articles, papers and even books. On this occasion, I was asked by a writer whether he should Image Stream his entire novel onto computer or tape recorder before beginning to write.

My reply grew into the following curriculum of techniques — applications of Project Renaissance method, in addition to such other techniques as you now have or have been taught — which I now lay before you…

Question:   Image Stream the whole book to the computer first?

Answer:   Yes, Image Stream to computer or tape recorder without worrying yet about a story line; just intend to be shown interesting scenes from the story-to-be and let them surprise you.

  • Write in high-intensity bursts, not a dribble a day like most people tell you. Write in such high-volume high-intensity bursts that your characters seem to take over the story and carry it in unexpected directions.
  • Never stall out with writer’s block — just Image Stream and describe the images that come at what will become the next point of writing, and flow on into the character, plot line or other development that’s coming up past what might have been the block. Be willing to generate, and throw away, a lot of stuff in order to get to the good stuff.
  • See if you can identify with each of your different characters, maybe do a Borrowed Genius with each to get really inside of why s/he did this or that. Again, let yourself be surprised.
  • When you think you are done, besides rewriting, ask your Image Stream what was the key consideration or factor left out that you need to take in. See what can be said by implication rather than spelled out with arrows drawn to the point. Put the reader to work. If the reader is impelled to figure out how and why so-and-so died, that can have more emotional impact than spelling out the death scene in gory detail.
  • Early on, ask your Image Stream what are the goals of this story beyond getting it written and read, and beyond the goals of the characters. What is the transcendent point this story can make?
  • One of the most valuable contributions your Image Stream can make is in supplying visual and sensory detail to the various scenes and actions — not purple prose, but at various moments offering details which stick in the reader’s mind. Such descriptions make an amazing difference in the life of the story. Even conventional schools of writing will tell you to lace the story with images to bring it alive in the reader’s mind.
  • Early on and perhaps at intervals, use the Toolbuilder procedure to experience a highly advanced but wholly human civilization where everyone, even the most rudimentary denizen, writes fiction so brilliantly that back here on Earth he’d be considered a genius author…..go to that point of experience in that civilization which causes everyone to become a genius writer. Go through that experience and note the methods and conditions which make that happen; see which of those you can use on yourself back here.
  • I mentioned the “Borrowed Genius” procedure above. You might also attack difficult writing sections by putting on the persona of a genius author and use that to resolve that section brilliantly.
  • Lastly for now, I strongly suggest intervals in which you use bursts of Freenoting or Windtunnel adapted for the purpose. Once you establish a strong enough flow, it’s amazing what you can call up to enrich your proceedings.

These are a few elements of ways to use Project Renaissance methods to get that story or novel of yours written well. I’m not (yet) a fiction writer myself (at least I don’t think what I’ve been writing has been fiction!), but someday I’ll have a go at it. Use what you can use, and put aside the rest.

I hope that some of this is helpful to you. Good luck on your writing.