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Generating ideas, breaking writers' block, and WRITING!

Oblique Strategies

by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt (copyright 1975/8/9)

The Oblique Strategies were originally a deck of cards created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt. I've put them into a JavaScript random generator here. Part of their description said:

If you're in a panic, you tend to take the head-on approach because it seems to be the one that's going to yield the best results. Of course, that often isn't the case - it's just the most obvious and--apparently--reliable method. The function of the Oblique Strategies was, initially, to serve as a series of prompts which said, "Don't forget that you could adopt *this* attitude," or "Don't forget you could adopt *that* attitude."

I use the Oblique Strategies in several ways for writing. Sometimes I pick one when I'm generating an idea and see where it leads me. Or I pick one after I've already got an idea forming, with the possibility of going off on a different tangent. Perhaps the best way to use the Oblique Strategies is if you're blocked or stuck, or the story isn't moving. Pick one then, and see what thinking about it will do to your story.

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Last update 21 April 2000