I'm going to choose a random topic and start brainstorming using the cubing strategy. This way you can see the process my brain went through to come up with ideas. The rules for doing this? There are no rules. Just answer the questions any way you want. :) Any way that you answer, will lead you down your own brainstorming path. Also, it's helpful if you think of several answers for each question.
Cubing: Homeless Monster
1. Describe the Topic: Homeless Monster
2. a. What is it Like? homeless people, a monster without a family, a monster with no food, a raggity monster
b. What is it Unlike: a rich homeless monster, a monster with many homes but chooses not to live in them, a monster with too many homes (like too many beds to live under- but can’t keep up with scaring them all….A monster who starts leaving notes like the tooth fairy or starts rating the kids he wants to scare. Starts having the kids applying to have the monster under the bed…monster in demand.
3. Associate it- makes me think of Mercer Mayer monster in my closet, monsters inc., where the wild things are, grover (there’s a monster at the end of this book)- makes me think of monsters with unlikely characteristics.
4. Analyze it- parts its made up of: Could be an arrogant monster, a snooty monster, an insecure monster, could be snooty kids that think their monster isn’t good enough, isn’t scary enough,
5. Apply it- How can a homeless monster be used? Adopt a monster- rent a monster- building a monster a home extreme monster makeover...
6. Argue for a homeless monster- Get Rid of the Monsters under your bed! But if you did, all the monsters would be homeless. Where would they go? They’d be living on the street. Is it really such a burden to give a monster a home?
Argue against a homeless monster- monsters have one purpose- to scare you. They aren’t just hanging out under your bed because they need a home. It isn’t by accident they are there. They have a motive. And their motive is the intent to scare you. Why would anyone care about housing something that is plotting to scare you?
Story Ideas that came out of Cubing:
1. A picture book about one monster seeking a home (or searching for the perfect bed to hide under.) But he isn’t worried about scaring the kid, he’s more worried about the kid scaring him. He just wants a nice home.
2. The Monster Bully or Monster Busters- A kid who is good at clearing out the monsters from under your bed. But once he does- all the monsters are homeless living on the streets, with nothing to do, or no where to go.
3. A persuasive picture book: Should There Be Monsters Under Your Bed? A book that argues back and forth the pros and cons of having a monster living under your bed.
4. Adopt a Monster- Homeless or Childless Monsters that are dying to live under some child’s bed. Older siblings go there to adopt a monster for their little sister or brother.
5. My Monster’s Scarier Than Yours- A picture book where a kid gets picked on for being afraid of the monster under his bed, but he reverses it by telling them that their monsters must not be very scary and that he has the scariest monster on the block. The kids start arguing that their monster is the scariest and so they end up having a monster contest.
6. A monster with too many beds to live under and too many kids to scare. Starts getting spread too thin and isn’t doing his job.
Same Topic Different Author
I asked my friend Dawn Young to help me out. I gave her the same topic and asked her to use the cubing strategy. I wanted to show how this strategy can be used in anyway you want. The point is simply to generate new ideas. (Thanks Dawn for sharing your Brainstorming Process!)
1. Describe it: Homeless Monster, sad, shaggy, messy
2. What is it like - a lost monster, a misfit monster, a rebellious monster
What is it not like - MVM (most valuable monster) on the baseball team, the monster with stacks of birthday party invitations.
3. Associate it: bullying, argument with friends makes me think of the Grinch, the Ugly Duckling,
4. Analyze it: maybe he ran away / a rebellious monster, a shy monster, an awkward monster
5. Apply It: not fitting in, being different / Monster Motel, Monster Shelter, Rescue a Monster, Monster Orphanage
6. Argue for it/ Against it: maybe he was partially to blame, maybe he needs to forgive
Dawn's reflection of using cubing. How did this tool help you?
"It helped me to imagine (envision) the monster, feel his pain, look into his eyes and see what he may need or want to, tapped into memories of kids who, though weren't homeless, felt lost and why and what they may have needed, like a friend or acceptance."
Thanks Dawn for sharing your Brainstorming Process!
You can visit Dawn over at http://pbookcrazy.com/.
You can download the strategy here.
Think Cubing can help you? Give it a try and let me know how it goes.
Mondays with Mandy or Mira consists of Mandy Yates and Mira Reisberg. Mira is the founder of the Children's Book Academy and was so impressed with Mandy when she was a student in one of the interactive courses, that she invited Mandy to share the blog. Mandy has as an MFA in creative writing from Spalding University and has been published multiple times in Highlights Magazine. We hope you enjoy and find our offerings helpful.
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