Playwriting

Let the Absurd Lead the Way

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There’s a great exercise in the book The Imagineering Workout edited by Peggy Van Pelt. In the book Disney Imagineers share their tips and exercises for shaping your creative muscles. This particular exercise works to force you to accept any idea, no matter how weird and go through steps to make it tangible. To make the absurd practical.

Take an object. Look at it and then think of something else, something that has nothing to do with the object: Cat/ping pong. Car/disco ball. Candle/bouncy castle. The two should not relate to each other in any way.

Now, come up with a list of questions that link the two. How do you get from cat to ping pong? It might take a few questions, but find the path so that it makes sense. Find a way so that it makes sense for a car to relate to a disco ball. Is the car really sleek and sporty, but wishes it were one of those big boats from the seventies? Does the car’s owner love disco but the car hates it? Or the other way around – the car’s owner only listens to jazz and the car longs for disco? Does the sound of the ping pong ball upset the cat? Does it soothe the cat?

Anything is possible, particularly in the realm of creative writing, you just need to take the steps to get from point A to point B.

Do this exercise yourself. Think of an object and then think of something that has nothing to do with the first object. How can you connect the two?

About the author

Lindsay Price