We had the privilege of sharing both a signing table and a dinner table with Robert Alan Black and discussing the cognitive thought process that guides an author's style.
Broken Crayons is a guide book designed to be used in group sessions for executives and employees to solve problems, but many of the concepts he details in a simple, easy to remember pattern apply to writers who work alone.
One of my favorites is a list of activities that can easily generate a new way of thinking. Alan's text is on p. 17-18, but I'm semi-quoting as I've changed items to suit my purpose.
Broaden Your Interests searching many areas for information.
Reverse Perspectives to see things a different way.
Open Yourself to an infinite number of ideas.
Kickback and let your imagination run around.
Eliminate Steps in Procedures to discover new ways to solve problems.
Never say Never. Keep yourself open to positives in all things.
Combine Ideas, new & old, tried & experimental, ones you agree with, ones you know will not work.
Rearrange steps, facts, data, ideas, characters to create unique approaches.
Adapt or alter existing ideas to produce new ones.
Orient differently, switch, change, alter combine past, present, and future, here, there, somewhere, nowhere.
Noodle around, play with ideas, look at it from the perspective of a child or an animal.
Sleep On It For a While, let your intuitive or subconscious mind work on the situation in your story.
Coloring inside the lines of our dime store book was a skill we learned as children. Now Alan gives us dozens of guidelines for breaking our crayons and working outside the lines.
His Cemetery of Creativity is one we've visited many times. Add your personal monuments to his forty-tombstones, and give them a proper burial.
Broken Crayons: Break Your Crayons and Draw Outside the Lines by Robert Alan Black is available from him with a unique signature at email@example.com or from Amazon.com.
Nash Black, reviewers and author