Journal Idea #5: Shape Your Entries

I struggled with algebra in high school, but aced geometry. I loved creating the constructions and writing the proofs. As a teacher, a writer, and a block printer, I continue to love shapes. But what do shapes have to do with a journal?

  • Experiment each day with writing a shape poem.
  • Put points on a line. Create a time line.
  • Use a vertical line intersected by a horizontal line to create two parallel columns to allow you to consider the similarities or differences between two characters, settings, or points of view.
  • Reflect on the relationship between yourself as the storyteller, your story, and your audience using a story triangle.
  • Draw out Freytag’s pyramid to reflect on a story your reading or one that you are writing.
  • Learn about the basics of a storyboard if you don’t already. Begin by drawing a series of rectangles and see where it leads.
  • Use Burke’s Pentad to help you to consider the motive(s) of a character or the basic parts of any dramatic situation.
  • Follow the associative trail of memories to recall segments for your life’s story: A circle reminds me of big tractor wheels, which makes me think of the tractor I caused to roll down a hill into a tree. A triangle makes me think of percussion instruments, which leads me to think about the years I spent in the band in high school, even though I didn’t play percussion.
  • Draw a different shape at the top of new page in your journal. Keep drawing the shape until your brain starts thinking about something else. Write about whatever comes to mind. Consider whether you see any relationship between the shape that started your entry and what you wrote.
  • Create a series of children stories using character’s based on shapes.
  • Write a poem whose lines “turn” on the basis of a shape/contain a shape as its central metaphor.
  • Use a shape name as a title and create a story to match the title, e.g. The Rhombus.

Post a comment with other suggestions you have for using shapes in journaling.

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