Very often I turn to my friends at the dinner table and say, “You know what would be cool…” or, “I have this great idea…” or, “What would you guys think if…”. Very often ideas pop into my head and I spit them out like rotten cherry tomatoes. What makes them rotten is because as soon as dinner is over and we leave the table, the idea leaves my mind or I become disinterested. The idea rots. But, not this time. I refuse to believe this idea will become rotten, and I’ve instead committed to its growth: I will create a literary lab that applies the scientific method to story creation, and I’ve devised a model and a 4 step guide to making it a reality.
At the top of the post is a link to a video, where I walk you through a premature model of my literary lab. The building is circular to represent the circularity of the writing process and scientific inquiry; the constant writing and editing, and testing and retesting. The model itself has been built with Google SketchUp. I apologize for the graphics of the model and my unsteady hand during the video; these programs are new to me. Also because of my naivety, I have not yet been able to incorporate text into my model, so below is a description of the model’s layout, written as though you were walking into the building.
1.) After you walk through the entrance you are in a circular room filled with computers, couches, and desks, all of which are ready and waiting for you.
2.) To begin the lab you enter the spiral staircase in the center of the building which encircles an elevator, for convenience sake, which is the core of the building. This is Step1: Background Research/Collect Data. The walls of this staircase are lined with excerpts from literary critics, literary theorists, and philosophers. The excerpts are organized alphabetically and each is numbered so further research is possible. You choose one or more excerpt that inspires you and note its number.
3.) Step2: Constructing a Hypothesis/Question, begins when you emerge from the stairs and walk into the outer-ring of the upper floor. This floor is a circle of glass walls that contains rows and rows of books, as well as access to mix media and previous creations. Here you research and decide how you will use your chosen excerpt/s to write, or create. You can locate the number of your excerpt/s on the shelves and read the entire work if you choose.
4.) Step3: Experiment/Collaboration, is located in the inner circular room on the top floor. Here the lines are lined with white boards, and you are encouraged through “How to Write Strategies” imprinted on the floor to write on the boards, talk to others, collaborate. Create your story outline and even start writing.
5.) Once your story arch has been hatched out, you can either walk back down the stairs or use the center elevator to return to the first floor where you engage in Step4: Analyze Data/Report Results. You use the computers, desks etc., to write/type your story draft and then print/email your creation. It is encouraged at a later date to bring this draft back and go through the lab again to aid the never-ending editing process.
6.) By the time you leave this lab you will have created a story draft. You will have used a four step, hands-on, scientific method for the purpose of literary creation. You will have blended the boundaries of science and humanity studies. And, most importantly, you will hopefully have had fun!
There is so much more for me to do. Hopefully, as SketchUp and I bond, I will be able to enhance my model and allow for you, yourself to walk through the building and actually see people and furniture. Hopefully I will learn to add text and you will actually be able to read the excerpts on the staircase. Hopefully you will see how this lab is possible!