Writing Techniques

These methods can help you get started on telling your story for the future.

A day in the life

Describe your main character. What kind of job does s/he have? What does her/his neighborhood look like, and why does it look like this? How does s/he get around? What kinds of things does s/he eat, and how is the food grown? Why does s/he eat this way? How does s/he interact with lakes, rivers, and other natural spaces? When s/he walks around a city, what does s/he see? When s/he walks around a farm, what does s/he see? Who has power over land and water decisions? Who are the winners and losers of the major land and water decisions that have been made? What decisions and tradeoffs did people need to make to get this point? Elaborate further as much as you would like.

Response to a surprise

Describe the effects of a surprise—such as a massive flood, the emergence of a new disease, or an economic recession—that impacts communities and ecosystems in your vision. Consider how several different hypothetical individuals may respond to the surprise—for example, a business owner, a person experiencing homelessness, a student, a farmer, or other types of individuals relevant to your community or organization. How would these people cope with the surprise?

Headlines of the future

Provide a journalist’s perspective of the future by focusing on a key event or newsworthy moment in that world. Structure your story like one you would read in a newspaper or magazine, including a catchy headline.

Future backwards

Construct your vision of the future, and then consider the key turning points that happened to get there. Imagine you are telling a history of this future.

*These techniques were borrowed from Foresight Horizon Scanning Centre and modified slightly.