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I've had two short stories and one essay published. I'm currently working on a "coming of age" novel set in the 1960's. I started this blog with the hope that I could share what I've learned/am learning about writing with other people and would get some of the same in return. If you know of anyone who might be interested in such a blog, please let that person or persons know about "The Writing Process." 7-8-12 I haven't worked on the novel for quite some time and doubt that I will take it up again. I'm currently working on a short story that I have high hopes for--or, if you prefer, for which I have high hopes. There is the possibility that I'll try another novel with some of the characters in this short story. Current and probable title: Not a Blind Date

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Einstellung Effect


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In his novel class, Jim Sallis often says not to settle for "first thought" ideas. They're usually not original, nor especially creative. He also says a danger for writers is to think you "know how to write." The idea there being that you should always be open, indeed searching for new ways to achieve the effect you want in your fiction. I assume this would apply to writing non-fiction as well.

In Andy Soltis column "Chess to Enjoy" in Chess Life Magazine (November 2010) he notes that even top-level chessplayers often fail to force checkmate in the most efficient manner, i.e. the fewest moves. This happens both when they solve chess problems and when they are playing chess games. He writes: "This phenomenon is striking to psychologists, who gave it an impressive name: the Einstellung effect."

The basic idea is that you tend to solve a problem with ways you know and are comfortable with even though there may be a better way or ways to solve it. It seems to me that Sallis is warning against the Einstellung Effect in your writing.