Invention Heuristics are techniques writers use to get started on a document rather than procrastinating. Writing faculty sometimes refer to Invention Heuristics as Prewriting Strategies.

Whereas Drafting refers to a writer’s effort to actually write a document, maybe a first draft or even a sentence or two that has the kernel of something larger, Invention Heuristics are a bit more playful and experimental.

Invention Heuristics are sort of like an athlete’s warm up exercises. For instance, a writer could write a reflective note about the rhetorical situation or maybe as work plan for drafting and collaborating. While reading, the writer could draft a book mark about the status of scholarly conversation about the topic. The writer could conduct even a bit of metacognitive work about whether the project is really worth doing.

Writing Heuristics @ Writing Commons

  1. Burke’s Pentad
  2. Clustering: Spider Maps
  3. Document Planner
  4. Freewriting
  5. Heuristics
  6. Journalistic Questions
  7. Group Brainstorming, Online Conversations, and Dictating
  8. Modeling/Theory Maps
  9. Note taking
  10. Timelines: Flow Charts
  11. Topoi & Tagmemic Questions
  12. Toulmin Heuristic
  13. Visualization
  14. Writer’s Journal

Additional articles on Invention-heuristics:

  1. Burke’s Pentad

    Use Burke's Pentad to interpret human events, stories, and movies. In A Grammar of Motives, philosopher and critic Kenneth Burke presents...

  2. Journal About the Assignment

    Use a writer's journal to organize your work, develop new projects, and nurture and sustain existing projects. Consider using these...

  3. Journalistic Questions

    Question     Who? Who is doing this? Who will do this? What? What did they do? What was it...

  4. Modeling/Theory Maps

    Use visual brainstorming to develop and organize your ideas. Do you have a grand theory or an explanation for a...

  5. Synthesis Notes: Working With Sources To Create a First Draft

    Synthesis notes are a strategy for taking and using reading notes that bring together—synthesize—what we read with our thoughts about...