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Flowers’ Model of the Writing Process

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Presentation on theme: "Flowers’ Model of the Writing Process"— Presentation transcript:

1 Flowers’ Model of the Writing Process

2 Standard model Get ideas Draft Revise Polish
As the squiggle of frosting shows, process is recursive: it doesn’t have to be done in any particular order

3 Kirk executive function
Parts / Whole Original Star Trek Spock reason McCoy intuition Analogy: Some people saw the main characters on Star Trek as parts of one human personality. Spock was reason, McCoy intuition, and Kirk the executive function. Of course, if they worked in perfect harmony, the show would have been boring. Instead, viewers were entertained by frequent conflicts between the superior Spock and the irascible McCoy. In a typical exchange, McCoy says: “Spock, remind me to tell you that I'm sick and tired of your logic.” “That,” replies Spock, “is a most illogical attitude” ("Star Trek: The Galileo Seven (#1.16)" [1967]). "Star Trek: The Pirates of Orion (#2.1)" (1974) Dr. McCoy: [about to give an injection] This won't hurt a bit, Spock. Mr. Spock: An unnecessary assurance, doctor, in addition to being untrue. Dr. McCoy: That's the last time I waste my bedside manner on a Vulcan. [gives him the injection] Mr. Spock: Such restraint would be welcome. "Star Trek: The Trouble with Tribbles (#2.15)" (1967) Bones: It is a human characteristic to love little animals, especially if they're attractive in some way. Spock: Doctor, I am well aware of human characteristics. I am frequently inundated by them, but I've trained myself to put up with practically anything. Bones: Spock, I do not know too much about these little Tribbles yet, but there is one thing that I have discovered. Spock: What is that, Doctor? Bones: I like them... better than I like you. Kirk executive function

4 Your writing energies Creator Planner Drafter Editor
Which of your writing energies is strongest? Describe any conflicts you experience between the four energies. If you wish, share strategies that you have found helpful in resolving conflicts. Editor

5 Flowers’ model Flowers called these energies Madwoman, Architect, Carpenter, and Planner. The Madwoman has lots of ideas and enthusiasm “writes crazily” to capture them. Nothing matters but going with the flow. The Architect creates order from the Madwoman’s chaos. The Carpenter follows the Architect’s plan, crafting sentences that fit within the overall structure. Finally, the Judge inspects the results to be sure that they communicate your intention. “Madman, Architect, Carpenter, Judge: Roles and the Writing Process” https://webspace.utexas.edu/cherwitz/www/ie/b_flowers.html

6 Or if you prefer… Flowers Role Variation Lunatic Artist Architect
What if…? Why not…? Artist Architect Architect What’s the plan? Some people were uncomfortable with Flowers’ language. She intended Madwoman to connote a “playful, creative” enthusiasm and freedom to explore ideas. Richard K. Neumann prefers the term Artist. This may be because he’s the author of a text on legal writing. A lawyer cannot afford to ignore constraints or precedent. However, even in legal argument, harnessing the power of chaos is important. Neumann encourages lawyers to explore a case from all angles, looking for new approaches and innovative ways to apply precedents. As cited in Simpson’s Toolkit: The term “Judge” is also intimidating for people. Some prefer the more neutral terms of Janitor or Inspector. The language doesn’t matter as much as the understanding that you should allow your ideas to flow freely before sweating details like sentence structure or perfect word choice. “Madman, Architect, Carpenter, Judge: Roles and the Writing Process” https://webspace.utexas.edu/cherwitz/www/ie/b_flowers.html -- Carpenter Carpenter Build it! Judge or Janitor Clean it up! Inspector

7 Words of wisdom Each of these four characters needs time alone on the stage. If you shortchange any of them, your writing will suffer. Garner (1997) Some people were uncomfortable with Flowers’ language. She intended Madwoman to connote a “playful, creative” enthusiasm and freedom to explore ideas. Richard K. Neumann prefers the term Artist. This may be because he’s the author of a text on legal writing. A lawyer cannot afford to ignore constraints or precedent. However, even in legal argument, harnessing the power of chaos is important. Neumann encourages lawyers to explore a case from all angles, looking for new approaches and innovative ways to apply precedents. As cited in Simpson’s Toolkit: The term “Judge” is also intimidating for people. Some prefer the more neutral terms of Janitor or Inspector. The language doesn’t matter as much as the understanding that you should allow your ideas to flow freely before sweating details like sentence structure or perfect word choice. “Madman, Architect, Carpenter, Judge: Roles and the Writing Process” https://webspace.utexas.edu/cherwitz/www/ie/b_flowers.html --

8 Enemies and allies Natural enemies Natural allies
Successful writers balance the competing energies. If you don’t, says Flowers, you will get stuck. For example, many writers can’t let their Artist or Madwoman come out to play. Every time they think of an idea, their inner Judge sneers, “That’s trite!” “What do you know about it?” or “Who would take that seriously?” As a result, they have nothing to write about, because the Judge can criticize, but he can’t create. Other writers are perfectly comfortable with generating ideas, but find it difficult to organize their free-flowing insights. In Flowers’ view, the key to success is letting the Madwoman, Architect, and Carpenter do their work before the Judge gets involved. “The trick to not getting stuck involves separating the energies. If you let the judge with his intimidating carping come too close to the madman and his playful, creative energies, the ideas which form the basis for your writing will never have a chance to surface. But you can't simply throw out the judge. The subjective personal outpourings of your madman must be balanced by the objective, impersonal vision of the educated critic within you.” Otherwise, your writing will express your feelings, but it may have meaning only to you. “Madman, Architect, Carpenter, Judge: Roles and the Writing Process” https://webspace.utexas.edu/cherwitz/www/ie/b_flowers.html Natural enemies Natural allies

9 Your writing energies Creator Planner Drafter Editor
Which is strongest? Describe any conflicts you experience between the four energies. If you wish, share strategies that you find helpful in resolving conflicts. Creator Planner Drafter Editor

10 Cultivating the Creator
Separate drafting and editing. Focus on capturing ideas. As you generate ideas, the important thing is to go with the flow. Keep the ideas coming, trusting that you can shape and refine them later. Promise the Judge a chance to comment later.

11 Focus on potential As you get started, the main thing to go with the flow. Suspend judgment. Tolerate imperfection. At this stage, you’re looking for ideas to nurture. Your goal: get ideas flowing and capture them in rough form.

12 Trust order will emerge
At this stage, you may need to remind yourself to trust the process. Order does emerge from chaos. Consider fractals--irregular but repeating geometric patterns. In a forest, for example, big and small trees appear to be scattered about. However, there is a hidden order. If you compare the number of big and small trees throughout the forest to the number of big and small branches on an individual tree, you’ll find that the patterns match. Scientists are using the fractal geometry of forests to calculate the amount of CO2 that rainforests can absorb. If you can tolerate the chaos, patterns will emerge. NOVA: Hunting the Hidden Dimension. Transcript available at

13 Cultivating the Planner
Follow a model. Create an outline or other overview. One big difference between novice and expert writers is that experts understand genre: in other words, they know how to use standard formulas. Note that outlining is generally helpful. However, writing researchers who reviewed papers written during an experiment could not tell who had done an outline and who had not. Also, outlines do not need to be formal, especially if the project is short. Use linear logic or web thinking, whichever works for you. random order 1, 2, 3

14 Step- or web-thinker? 1, 2, 3 Follow a model.
Create an outline or other overview. Include writing research Use linear logic or web thinking, whichever works for you. random order 1, 2, 3

15 Cultivating the Carpenter
Create the draft. Separate writing and editing. Garner points out that many people find drafting the “least pleasant” part of writing. He thinks this is because it’s easy to neglect the Madman and Architect… “as if any writer could do three things at once: think of ideas, sequence them, and verbalize them. That’s not the way it works, even for superb writers. The Carpenter’s job becomes relatively easy if the Madman and the Carpenter have done their work” (p. 6) Be aware that you can build your framework at the planning stage or find an organizing framework as you write. Either method can be productive.An outline is time-efficient, especially if you’re working with information and you know what you want to say. The more you’re writing from the heart, the more likely it is that you’ll need to write your way to what you’re trying to express. Writing is a way of knowing, and multiple drafts are one way to develop that knowledge. As E. M. Forster said, “How do I know what I mean until I see what I say?” Whether you follow a draft or write multiple drafts, this is the stage where the plan becomes reality. Go with the flow. Leave gaps for later.

16 Write, then edit Based on this manuscript, what conclusions would you draw about the author? This manuscript was created by Ellen Raskin, who won a Newbery Award--this highest honor in children’s literature--for this mess. This is the first of five rough drafts she had to do before she could solve this puzzle mystery herself. She did a great service to writers by donating her manuscripts to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, because her example demolishes the myth that you should strive for perfection on the first draft. You cannot make a bigger mess than Ellen Raskin did, and yet it all turned out. The point is to get ideas flowing and capture them in rough form.

17 Tolerate the mess It ain’t where you start, it is where you finish.
Gen. Colin Powell Powell quotation from Kaplan graduation ceremony Jan. 30, 2010 (tweeted by Will deBock) “But suppose you get stuck in a certain part. Just move on to the next section: you may have to leave a little hole here and there.” Garner

18 Cultivating the Judge Judge = “inspector for quality control” (Garner, 1997) Once your Carpenter has built a draft, you can call in your Judge, who will look for problems as well as ways to refine the draft. The Judge will check for many things: whether there are transitions between paragraphs, whether the verbs need strengthening, and so on. And the Judge will check many grammatical points, too — everything from comma splices to misplaced modifiers to subject–verb agreement problems. The Judge is an inspector for quality contr

19 Cultivating the Judge First, deal with global issues.
Have you said what you wanted to say? Are things in the right order? Then switch to your readers’ point of view. Have you anticipated questions? Will readers understand? Do they have a reason to care? Finally, fix errors.

20 Do a “dental draft” A friend of mine says that the first draft is the down draft—you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft—you fix it up. And the third draft is the dental draft, where you check every tooth, to see if it’s loose or cramped or decayed, or even, God help us, healthy. AKA a “shitty first draft” At this point, the focus should be on capturing ideas and keeping the flow going. “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something -- anything -- down on paper. A friend of mine says that the first draft is the down draft -- you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft -- you fix it up. You try to say what you have to say more accurately. And the third draft is the dental draft, where you check every tooth, to see if it's loose or cramped or decayed, or even, God help us, healthy. Lamott passage: Anne Lamott

21 What have you learned? Creator Planner Drafter Editor
If each character is allowed to take the lead, the whole process goes more smoothly. Garner recommends spending 10 minutes getting ideas, 5 minutes planning, 25 minutes drafting, and 10 minutes editing (p. 10). Editor

22 Genealogy (Flowers, n.d.) (Garner, 1997) (Munzenmaier, 2010) You
References Flowers, B. S. (n.d.). Madman, architect, carpenter, judge: Roles and the writing process. Retrieved from https://webspace.utexas.edu/ cherwitz/www/ie/b_flowers.html Garner, B. A. (1997). Using the Flowers paradigm to write more efficiently. Retrieved from (Flowers, n.d.) (Garner, 1997) (Munzenmaier, 2010) You If each character is allowed to take the lead, the whole process goes more smoothly. Garner recommends spending 10 minutes getting ideas, 5 minutes planning, 25 minutes drafting, and 10 minutes editing (p. 10).

23 Resources Flowers, B. S. (n.d.). Madman, architect, carpenter, judge: Roles and the writing process. Retrieved from https://webspace.utexas.edu/ cherwitz/www/ie/b_flowers.html Garner, B. A. (1997). Using the Flowers paradigm to write more efficiently. Retrieved from Simpson, T. (2009). The toolkit. Retrieved from introduction/artist-inspector-architect-carpenter.html

24 If you are very knowledgeable, you might have someone who is less familiar with the topic read your memo and let you know any questions that came to mind.


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