Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cubing: A 3-D Approach to Brainstorming

Adapted from a PSU Writing Center handout by Mariah Bennett-Gillard

Cubing is a good way to look at a person, object, feeling, or idea from six different perspectives. Like a cube, the writing you do while cubing has six sides which represent the different aspects of your writing. When doing this exercise write quickly, spending 3 to 5 minutes on each side of the cube. Read the questions two or three times to make sure you have them locked inside your brain. Set a timer and focus the best you can. If it helps, keep a flashcard with the questions in front of you while you work, switching them once your timer dings and starting again. You’ll surprise yourself with what you can come up with.

Here are the prompts for each side of your cube:

1) Describe it: What does it look like? What are its characteristics? What are the first things you notice about it?

2) Compare it: What is it similar to? What is it different from?

3) Associate it: What does it remind you of? How does it connect with your individual life, with the life of your family or community?

4) Analyze it: Look deeper. What is it made of? How does it work?

5) Apply it: What is it used for? Who uses it?

6) Argue for or against it: Is it a good thing or a bad one? Explain why.


When you are finished, read what you wrote, and put a star besides the writing that seems the most powerful or interesting or that you would like to develop further. Now, freewrite again. This time focus on the sentences that you put the star next to, and before you know it, you will be well on your way to writing your assignment.

No comments: