Creative Spark Two Ways

Recently I got wrapped up in a discussion with George Fields (One Spot #3) after getting some feedback from a customer (all feedback, good or bad, is welcome – and I thank you all for whatever you can give back). The discussion was about the merits of one creative approach over another. When I say “creative approach” in this context, I mean the general algorithm I apply to trying to spark the creative process for a particular product.

gaming_diceLet’s look at Little Spaces: Burial Mounds vs. Little Spaces: Tavern Trouble as an example.

Burial Mounds uses the same approach I came up with for the Insta-NPCs line of products, which more or less follows these steps:

  1. Set your mind in a particular context (i.e. telling your mind “I am writing about graveyards and buried remains.”).
  2. Start with the first category – Memorial Type. Roll a die. Pick something from the list. That guides my muse towards a particular flavor of burial (i.e. “Mound”).
  3. Move to the next category – Memorial Material. Roll a die. Pick something from the list (i.e. “Limestone”).
  4. Lather-Rinse-Repeat as many times as you’d like or for as many steps as are available.

When you’re done, you have a collection of context-based terms to hopefully give your brain a bit of a scaffolding to create things around. So let’s call this the “Scaffolding” method of creativity boosting.

Then, on the Tavern Trouble side we have three main steps and some additional ones if you need them:

  1. Again, set your mind to a particular context. In this case, we’re writing about tavern brawls, intrigue, and drinking.
  2. Roll one or more senses (d8, rolls of 6-8 mean roll again or roll “more”). End up with one to three senses to describe the scene with.
  3. Roll to figure out what “descriptive element” you are describing. Things like tables, chairs, and bar stools.
  4. Then roll a “Sense Descriptor” for each sense rolled in step #2. These are things like dark, fragrant, and inedible.
  5. (Optional) Roll on any additional tables such as “Spin” or “Mood” to help get a better picture of the events you are describing.
  6. Again, when you’re done, you have a collection of terms to build an encounter, item, or NPC around.

We’ll call this the “Sensory” method.

I honestly don’t see one as being better than the other. One is more open and the other is more structured. So it just depends on how you like to work creatively. Which do you prefer personally?

The goal for Moebius Adventures is to inspire your muse, whether you use it at the game table or in your fiction writing, so I want to approach creativity and that “spark” in as many ways as possible.

So I suspect that to keep both sides of this equation in check, I will go back to the “Sensory” method for the Little Spaces line and create a new Insta-Spaces line that uses the Insta-NPCs approach.

Anybody have any feedback on this? Leave me comments! Drop me e-mails! Holler on social media! Pick your poison – I’m listening!! 🙂


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