Writing Survival Guide
Pit Bull Brainstorming: Invention Strategies for Composition
Susan Smith Nash, Ph.D.
Listen to the downloadable audio file: http://www.beyondutopia.net/podcasts/pit-bulls.mp3
Brainstorming is an invention strategy for composition that can
take many forms. While some find it useful to use diagrams,
outlines, decision trees, and clusters, those tactics tend to
focus on the "what" instead of the "how" and the "why." In order
to approach deeper issues, and to trigger chains of thoughts, a
very powerful technique is to develop series of questions.
This brainstorming exercise revolves around questions that
trigger questions. It is a chain of questions, or, one could say a
"great concatenation of questions." This approach is extremely
useful for causal essays, as well as basic argumentation. One
topic that certainly helps illustrate the technique is that of the
American Pit Bull Terrier. It seems that attacks by pit bulls just
keep increasing. Why is it happening? What are we doing about it?
Are some dog breeds being labeled "bad breeds"?
I'm using the question about whether or not communities should
have "breed bans" as an example. Use this approach for any topic
-- you'll be surprised how effect it is, especially as you try to
get started, and you are not sure how to see multiple sides of the
Audio: I listened to an interesting report on National Public
Radio entitled, "Targeting Aggressive Dog Breeds in California." I
accessed it through the National Public Radio website located
I was able to listen to the show using Real Player, which I had downloaded for free from the Internet. Alternatively, I could have listened to it using Windows Media Player.
Questions immediately came to mind. I thought about the general
questions, and I found my questions were helping me narrow my
The questions can also be thought of as cluster analysis
questions, and can be used in conjunction with mind-mapping.
The perplexing questions first:
Why do pit pulls attack people, and how can such a tiny dog be so dangerous?
Who says they're bad? Why are they saying it?
What do some people want to do? Where? Why?
History and background thoughts:
Why are pit bulls aggressive? Were they bred that way?
What is a pit bull, and what makes it so dangerous?
Who uses the ultra-aggressive pit bulls?
Who might need such an aggressive dog?
The other side of the coin:
What is good about a pit bull?
Why do some people say the breed is very loving?
Can pit bulls be friendly, happy dogs?
Let's get personal:
What would I do if I had a pit bull?
Training, conditioning, behavior modification
Are there any business opportunities here? Yes! one can specialize in deprogramming dangerous dogs; also, let your city become the pit bull dumping ground next to a major metropolitan area (all dogs must be muzzled, though)
Dog chow for ultra aggressive dogs (make them more aggressive) -- is there and ethical issue here?
Pacifying dog chow (calm down and tranquilize the dogs)
Pit Bulls and Dog Fighting: Current Issues
What Is it About Pit Bulls? http://www.moderndogmagazine.com/articles/what-it-about-pit-bulls/17294
Arguments For and Against Breed-Specific Bans
Impact of Breed Bans on Human Owners -- "An Actor's Death Puts a Spotlight on Breed Bans and Grieving Over the Loss of a Pet" http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/an-actors-death-puts-a-spotlight-on-breed-bans-and-grieving-over-the-loss-of-a-pet?WT.mc_id=Outbrain_6413183
Vick on Course for Animal Empathy: http://viviangrant.wordpress.com/2007/10/04/vick-on-course-for-animal-empathy/
Trained to be Killers, Vick's Pit Bulls Now on Death Row: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/2007/08/30/2007-08-30_trained_to_be_killers_vicks_pit_bulls_no.html
My Pit Bull Brainstorming "cloud" -- make connections
Pit Bull Rescue Central: http://www.pbrc.net/
pit bull terriers, composition strategies, brainstorming techniques, concept mapping, clusters of thoughts, invention techniques, first year composition, mad dog, mauling dogs, 76-year-old-woman mauled by pit bull as grandchildren watch in horror, Denver bans pit bulls, Nederland, Colorado becomes aggressive breed haven, new kennel accepts cast-off killer canines
Useful Websites for Information
Pit Bull Primer: There are two sides to the pit bull banning
San Francisco Chronicle, October 30, 2005
Pit Bull Mix Mauls 60-Year-Old Man
Pit Bull Attack Places Breed Ban in the Spotlight
Suburban Chicago News, November 20, 2005
Miami Votes to Keep Ban on Pit Bulls
August 16, 2012
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