In Medias Res: Creative Problem Solving for Writers

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Nina Greenwald


When writers get stuck in their writing, how can they break past those blocks and be productive once more? By employing creative problem solving techniques used for decades by the business, science and education sectors—that's how. This synthesis project details a book in-progress, In Medias Res: 25 Breakthrough Tools for Writers In Progress, demonstrating how writers can use constructivist-based writing exercises to generate new ideas and to extend existing stories. The idea for this book came about during one of my first classes in the Critical & Creative Thinking program at UMass Boston, when I was trying to figure out how to transform problem solving tools designed for groups into methods that an individual could use. I started thinking about the types of activities I often struggled to accomplish. I realized that I have at least four or five fiction novels on my computer’s hard drive—all with great beginnings and often exciting endings, but for some reason or another, I became stuck in the middle. It was with that realization that In Medias Res was born. Over the next two years I researched a variety of constructivist-based writing tools and worked to transform them for use by an individual writer. This paper explains what constructivism is and how writers can use constructivist exercises and diagrams to further their storylines, develop characters and make decisions concerning their writing. Also included is the book proposal for In Medias Res, as well as a course outline for teaching the exercises explored in my book. Finally, this synthesis project concludes with an explanation of how my book is a vehicle for teaching critical and creative thinking in the world at large and how the process has transformed me as an individual and changed the course of my life—for the better.


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