One of the things we're doing in Holly's How to Think Sideways class is clustering. I've never been a big clustering fan---but since the whole class hinges on it, I started thinking about it.
In a way, clustering is like free writing. You don't censor what you put down, you just put it down. I've done sets of free writing before and have no difficulty, so really, what the heck is my problem with clustering? Is it the graphical nature of it? Does it seem more rather than less restrictive to me? Maybe. In any case, I've set aside my discontent with it, and did the exercise on the six questions. More later on how it worked to generate story ideas.
A tiny snippet of what I'm working on lately: First draft, please do not quote or post elsewhere
The first thing Mia remembered her father telling her was that her mother abandoned her.
This meant nothing to Mia. Never knowing a mother, she did not miss having one. When the village children pitied and shunned her, she became aware of a lack of maternal presence in her life, and wondered about her mother—who she was, why she’d abandoned her daughter.
At her seventh birthday, with no cake and no presents, Mia asked her father about her mother.
Her father flew into a rage, stomping around the room and throwing things.
“Don’t ask me about her! Don’t ask me about her!” he shouted, and shoved his face close to hers, hair standing on end where he’d clutched it. “A fickle creature, heart as insubstantial as a feather!” he raged. “But I was more clever than she! I never told her my name.”
“What do you mean, Father?” Mia asked.
But her father shut his mouth tight and left the house in a hurry. When he returned, he wouldn’t respond to any of her questions. Mia eventually stopped asking.