The Loop Writing Process

Dec 31, 1969
Image for issue at Youth Voices

Will you: 

Use the "Loop Writing Process" to focus in on where you are going with an inquiry and to give you new ideas about your question.

"The loop writing process is a way to get the best of both... control and creativity. On the one hand it lets you steer where you are going... But on the other hand it expands your point of view.... It is especially useful if you can't think of much to write or are stuck with a topic that bores you."

Peter Elbow, "The Loop Writing Process," Chapter 8 in Writing With Power.

Try this (It should take about 45 minutes):

  1. Write your inquiry question at the top of your paper.
  2. Freewrite about your question. (10 min.)
  3. Metaphors. If your topic were one of these what would it be? (5 min.)
    • color
    • math problem
    • magazine article
    • video
    • song
  4. Dialogue. Write a dialogue about your question. (10 min.)
    • Who? Choose two or three characters.
    • Where? Imagine where they are, but don’t describe it. Just write their words
    • What? What specific conversation are they having about your question. Write it now.
  5. Facts, Lies, Assumptions. List as many as you can in 2 minutes each. (6 min.)
    • Things you and everybody else in this room are sure are true about your question/topic.
    • Things you and everybody in this room know are not true about your question/topic.
    • Things you are pretty sure are not true, but you think may be true. In your head you think these things are not true. In your heart or gut your’re not so sure. Maybe?
  6. Essay exam. Pretend to be taking an essay exam. Answer your inquiry question to the best of your ability. (10 min.)

Also see: Prewriting for a Compare and Contrast Essay

Work you will have: 

  1. A link to a Google Doc (or a similar platform) that shows moments of discovery (something you didn't know until you wrote it) and "taking an idea for a walk" to see where it leads. The Doc should show that you used the creative prompts to develop your topic and to go deeper into your question.
  2. A link to a discussion post on Youth Voices that you revised, using the writing from the "Loop Writing Process" as your first draft.