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FV and FVP Forum > A general problem-solving approach, inspired by the FVP algorithm

Here is a process to find a solution to any problem.

It may look more complicated than it really is. The whole process typically takes 10 or 15 minutes and really helps clarify problems. In my experience with it so far, solutions often just present themselves spontaneously. It's incredibly useful and simple, and works with problems of many sizes and levels of complexity.

Here is the process:

1. Start with a lined sheet of paper and a pen or pencil.

2. Think of some problem that is really bothering you. Write it down on the first line of the page, and mark it with a cross (+).

3. Starting on the line immediately after the cross (+), write down all the things that are bothering you about this problem. Sometimes it's hard to know which things are "causes" and which things are "effects", so let's just call them "contributing factors" and "undesirable effects", but don't try to get too specific about which is which. Just write. Write them all down, one per line, as many as you can think of. Maybe you'll have three, or maybe you'll have thirty or more! I typically fill half a page.

Side note: As you write, you may want to rewrite or edit to express yourself more clearly. Instead of correcting or editing, just start a new line and write the new phrasing there. Sometimes I even stop mid-phrase and just start a new line immediately. This keeps the flow going. Stopping to correct and edit blocks the flow, and it's not necessary for the process.

Also: don't think about solutions yet. Think only about the contributing factors and undesirable effects. We'll get to solutions later.

4. After you have written down as many items as you can think of, put a "dot" next to the first item immediately after the cross (+). The dotted item is your "X".

5. Scan through the list, FVP-style, asking yourself the question, "What contributes to the problem more than X?" Or perhaps, "What is a greater contributing factor to the problem than X?" If something stands out, then mark it with a dot, and it becomes the new "X". Repeat till you reach the end of the list.

6. Mark the final dotted item with a cross (+), and repeat from step 3.

7. After two or three iterations of this process, you will find that the problem has become very clear, and a solution may suddenly present itself, or at least a direction to a solution. But when this occurs, don't stop, not yet. Keep going for another iteration, and stay focused on contributing factors and undesirable effects. By continuing for another iteration, you will either validate that yes, you've come to the point where you have a potential solution, or no, you need to keep working through the process.

8. If you have reached the point where a solution has presented itself, and you've iterated through the processes at least one more time, and your solution still seems like a solid idea, then draw a line across the page. Write out how your solution will resolve the problem as expressed by the last item with a cross (+).

9. Then scan up the page to find the immediately previous cross (+). Write out how your solution will resolve THAT problem. Repeat by going up the page and doing this for each item with a cross (+), till you have done it for your original problem.

10. Ask yourself, does this all make sense? Will this give me a solid solution, or at least the direction to a solution, for my core problem? If yes, then congratulations! You are done. But if it feels like something substantial is missing, and you need a more complete solution, then start back at step 1. For step 2, write "What is missing from my solution?" on the first line, and mark it with a cross (+). Then continue with step 3. Repeat till you feel you have a substantially complete solution.


Personally, I almost always stop at step 9 the first time through, because I am happy with the results. So far, I've only needed to do step 10 once, and only one iteration. Your mileage may vary.

Step 3 alone is probably the most valuable part of the process. There's something about repeatedly writing the undesirable effects and contributing factors that starts to drive more focus and clarity.
October 22, 2016 at 5:46 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Here's an example. My core problem was "I am tired all the time." Here's how it went. The whole process took about 5 minutes.

Here is how it looked after Steps 1-2:
+ tired all the time

Here is how it looked after Step 3:
+ tired all the time
don't get enough exercise
headaches
too much to do
allergies

Here is how it looked after Steps 4-5:
+ tired all the time
• don't get enough exercise
headaches
too much to do
allergies

Here is how it looked after Step 6, then repeating steps 4-5:
+ tired all the time
+ don't get enough exercise
• headaches
too much to do
allergies
• busy schedule right now
• knee and ankle problems
• eye problem
too busy in evenings
don't get up early enough to walk

Here is how it looked after repeating Step 6 again, then repeating steps 4-5 again:
+ tired all the time
+ don't get enough exercise
• headaches
too much to do
allergies
• busy schedule right now
• knee and ankle problems
+ eye problem
too busy in evenings
don't get up early enough to walk
• don't know any safe exercises besides walking
wake up with headache and don't go for walk
• can't walk anyway right now because of knee
• don't know any safe exercises

At that point, "BING!!", the problem became very clear. Of course! I should have realized. I have an eye problem and can't do any exercises that create internal pressure (such as heavy lifting), and because of the knee problem I can't do my usual walking routine. I really don't have any idea what to do for exercise, and I had simply stopped altogether. It immediately occurred to me that I should go talk to the doctor about this, and ask if he can recommend an exercise regime for my situation.

This is Step 7.

To validate this solution, I did one more iteration. But it was fast, and it did validate the solution:
+ tired all the time
+ don't get enough exercise
• headaches
too much to do
allergies
• busy schedule right now
• knee and ankle problems
+ eye problem
too busy in evenings
don't get up early enough to walk
• don't know any safe exercises besides walking
wake up with headache and don't go for walk
• can't walk anyway right now because of knee
+ don't know any safe exercises
• don't know where to look to find good exercises
don't trust my judgement in evaluating online sources for this
that would take too long anyway

OK, so at that point, the line is drawn (Step 8), and you apply your solution in reverse to make sure it solves the problem (Step 9):
+ tired all the time
+ don't get enough exercise
• headaches
too much to do
allergies
• busy schedule right now
• knee and ankle problems
+ eye problem
too busy in evenings
don't get up early enough to walk
• don't know any safe exercises besides walking
wake up with headache and don't go for walk
• can't walk anyway right now because of knee
+ don't know any safe exercises
• don't know where to look to find good exercises
don't trust my judgement in evaluating online sources for this
that would take too long anyway
----------------------------------------------------------------
+ don't know any safe exercises -> Talk to doctor about exercise regime
+ eye problem -> He should have some ideas that are safe for my eye and knee
+ don't get enough exercise -> This should help me to get more exercise while my knee is recovering'
+ tired all the time -> This should help my energy levels

Yep, sounds like a solid solution! Time to call the doctor.

But if it didn't seem solid or complete, I'd proceed to Step 10 to try to find a more complete solution.
October 22, 2016 at 6:08 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Seraphim:

Wow! That sounds really good. I must try it out. I might try the same question as you did!
October 22, 2016 at 10:30 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I would be glad to hear how it works out for you!
October 23, 2016 at 4:31 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
This has really grabbed my attention, Seraphim, and I'm going to try it.

I think the usual suspects have overlooked this thread because this forum is infrequently used. I'll mention it around the place.
October 23, 2016 at 10:37 | Unregistered CommenterChris Cooper
👏 Great idea Seraphim!
Reminds me of the “5 Whys” but in a better / structured manner.
October 23, 2016 at 11:29 | Registered CommenterHugo Ferreira
Thanks to both Seraphim and to Chris for giving us a head-up!

The 'example' resonates with me because I experience tiredness and find difficulty in concentrating, PLUS, I too have had severe knee problems since May/June.

As I use a daily log/bullet journal approach now, I can have a go at this approach right now and write my issues down.

I wonder how many of us are in the same age band? I am 69, currently working in Bosnia-Herzegovina to help a local water utility improve its commercial and business performance. I bought a bike in May when I arrived and had just started to do 60+ minutes easy rides around the small city when the knees gave in, unrelated to the bike ride, but enough to put me on crutches to try and avoid the knife - December will tell how I have fared so far
October 23, 2016 at 11:51 | Unregistered CommenterRoger J
Chris Cooper:

<< I think the usual suspects have overlooked this thread because this forum is infrequently used. I'll mention it around the place. >>

It's the most visited page on the website over the last three days - and it's only been up for two of them!
October 23, 2016 at 12:06 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
@Mark Forster

Well, that just shows the magic of my PR effort ...

Anyway, I've tried the method and it's been fruitful. I could have continued, but after an hour I wanted to stop problem-solving and start implementing.
October 23, 2016 at 12:27 | Unregistered CommenterChris Cooper
Chris:

<< wanted to... start implementing>>

That's always the sign of a good problem solving method!
October 23, 2016 at 14:02 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Chris - I am glad you've found it useful!

Has anyone else tried it? Has it been helpful?

I've been getting a lot of use out of it. It almost always gives me a good solution. But even when the solution doesn't work out, it always yields new insights, and gives me a good, fruitful direction to pursue.

I've thrown some pretty heavy problems at it -- things that have been bothering me for years. I've never had to spend more than half an hour working through it before a solution appears. I'm kind of getting addicted to it!
October 23, 2016 at 19:35 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Yes, I had a go with one problem - not so much a problem perhaps as finding some guidance about a situation. It gave me one particular thing to focus on. Very useful.
October 23, 2016 at 21:26 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Would it be possible to do a "No-List FVP" version of this?
October 23, 2016 at 22:05 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Seraphim:

This is great! Lately I've been looking to simplify my own system. I created it for myself a few years ago and later posted it to my blog (Evernote copy: http://bit.ly/2evTty9 ).

Your system is exactly the kind of free-form, yet structured simplicity I was looking to try! I'm testing it out immediately. Thanks!
October 23, 2016 at 22:46 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Mark:

"Would it be possible to do a "No-List FVP" version of this?"

Have a go at it! Would love to see what that would look like.
October 24, 2016 at 0:02 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Michael B. -

Let us know how it works out for you!

And thanks for the introduction to Doctor SOROC. :-)

The most effective problem-solving model I've run across is Eli Goldratt's "Thinking Processes", especially the Current Reality Tree, Future Reality Tree, and Transition Tree. They are really effective but can take a really long time to work through. I've been a bit obsessed with these lately. :-)

The Current Reality Tree takes a bunch of Undesirable Effects and maps out a cause-and-effect relationship between them in order to identify the single root cause behind them all. The idea is to assess each cause-and-effect linkage for "necessity" (is this really a contributing factor?) and "sufficiency" (are there other required contributing factors?) and therefore get a real solid logical cause-and-effect sequence.

The Future Reality Tree restates the core problem as its opposite, and then works through the logical outcome to see if you would really overcome all the Undesirable Effects. It also identifies any new Undesirable Effects you would create as side effects, and helps you think about how to eliminate those, too.

The Transition Tree helps you craft a plan to transition from the Current Reality to the Future Reality.

Like I said, it's really powerful, really useful, and tends to get fast results, but only AFTER you've worked through this process. It gets fast results because it brings your focus to the Core Problem at the root of all the Undesirable Effects, rather than trying to tilt at each Undesirable Effect in isolation.

The problem is that it can easily take an hour or two to create a Current Reality Tree -- not even counting the other trees. And it takes a LOT of mental effort -- I always feel drained afterwards. In a team setting, it can take a DAY or more, and has a reputation for making grown men cry. :-)

I was trying to find a way to shortcut the process, in the hope that I could achieve maybe 80% of the effectiveness but get there in 20% of the time. It seemed like the FVP algorithm was a natural fit for this! After some trial and error, I arrived at the process I posted above, and it seems to do the job pretty well!

Goldratt's "Evaporating Cloud" conflict-resolution model is also a quick process (can be done in 15 minutes), and incredibly useful, but seems to give the best results if you've already identified the core problem behind your conflict.
October 24, 2016 at 0:25 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Mark -

I'm glad you've had some success with it!

As to how it would work with the No-List FVP algorithm -- in fact, I think it already does something similar, but I can think of a small modification to make it VERY similar. Let me think on it for a bit.
October 24, 2016 at 0:45 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Seraphim:

Fascinating stuff! I'm already finding the Future Reality Tree to be useful. I think that's my favorite of the three trees.
October 24, 2016 at 1:27 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Mark -

OK, here's a modified version that makes it a lot more like No-List FVP.

This might be faster, but perhaps more importantly, it provides a way to find a more complete solution.

But I haven't tried it yet... You never really know how these things will work till you try them!

You will need two sheets or pages -- one is your "Problem Page", and one is your "Solution Page".

1. On the first line of your Problem Page, write down a problem that is really bothering you.
2. Mark it with the letter X in the margin.
3. Ask yourself, "What is a contributing factor to X?"
4. Write that down on the next line.
5. Ask youself, "Is there anything that is MORE of a contributing factor to X?"
6. Write that down on the next line.
7. Repeat the process until you get “No” as the answer to the question.
8. Mark the last item on the list with the letter X in the margin.
9. At this point, you may find that a solution presents itself to you. If that happens, then proceed to Step 10. But if a solution has not yet presented itself, then repeat from Step 3.
10. Think about how the solution solves X. If you feel it is a solid, complete solution, then proceed to Step 11. Otherwise, repeat from Step 3.
11. On your Solution Page, write out X, then write " <== solved by " and then write out your solution.
12. Go back to the Problem Page. Put a line through the last item with an X (it has been solved).
13. From there, scan up the Problem Page, and for each item ask yourself, "does my solution provide a solid answer to this item?"
14. If the answer is "yes", then put a line through the item and keep scanning up the page.
15. If the answer is "no", then mark that item with an X, and proceed from Step 3.
16. Repeat until everything on the Problem Page has a line through it.
October 24, 2016 at 1:34 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
I forgot a step!

17. Implement your solutions! :-)
October 24, 2016 at 1:43 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Michael B. - If Goldratt's Thinking Processes interest you, I'd recommend his first two business novels:
- The Goal - great book, introduces the Theory of Constraints
- It's Not Luck - sequel to The Goal, introduces the Thinking Processes. Makes a lot more sense if you've read The Goal first.

The best non-fiction book I've found so far on the Thinking Processes is Lisa J. Scheinkopf's Thinking For A Change: Putting the TOC Thinking Processes to Work. It's straightforward, thorough and helpful.

If you want an _exhaustive_ book on this topic, then try William Dettmer's The Logical Thinking Process. It's a full textbook, very thorough, very well written; but frankly, I didn't find it as useful as Scheinkopf's book.

Great interviews with Goldratt, Dettmer, and others at http://www.rolls.rocks/podcasts-video/?offset=1433337544172
October 24, 2016 at 1:51 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Seraphim:

Great book suggestions, thanks! I'd flipped through "The Goal" at the bookstore but recall it being a book on cost accounting—in novel form! I quickly put it back on the shelf!
October 24, 2016 at 4:21 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
It's really a book about systems thinking. Goldratt illustrates the key message that every complex system that is trying to achieve some kind of throughput will always have one primary bottleneck that limits the throughput of the whole system. If you increase the throughput of the bottleneck, you will thereby immediately increase the throughput of the whole system.

It does touch on problems of cost accounting, but only insomuch as cost accounting is a local measurement that fails to provide any useful information on managing the operational cost or throughput of the whole system.

Many of these concepts can be extended to personal workflow management.
October 24, 2016 at 5:20 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Seraphim:

I'll have to give it a read then. Thanks!
October 24, 2016 at 5:41 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Roger J:

"I wonder how many of us are in the same age band? I am 69..."

I'm one of those damn millennials the media keeps warning you about. You know, the cause of all that's unholy in the world. The reason cornflakes are soggy after only a few minutes in skim milk. I can do a really good "adult" when I need to though. It almost looks like the real thing!
October 24, 2016 at 6:07 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Seraphim:

<< here's a modified version that makes it a lot more like No-List FVP. >>

That sounds very elegant - which of course doesn't necessarily mean that it works. But I must try it out - and soon!
October 24, 2016 at 9:13 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Seraphim:

<< The Goal - great book, introduces the Theory of Constraints >>

I found it to be a very interesting read - one of those books that keeps sparking new ideas in one's head.
October 24, 2016 at 9:16 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Roger J:

<< "I wonder how many of us are in the same age band? I am 69..." >>

A Baby Boomer in other words!

Am I the only War Baby here?
October 24, 2016 at 9:20 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Michael B. - I wish I had Mark's no-list and dynamic lists and unique applications of Colley's Rule (on which FV and FVP are based), and Goldratt's Theory of Constraints and Thinking Processes, when I was in my twenties! We expect great things from you. :-)

(BTW I am Gen-X. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_X )
October 24, 2016 at 21:45 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Mark - Let us know how it works for you!

Regarding The Goal - yes, I've read it three times in the last year, and got more and more from it each time. The sequels, too.
October 24, 2016 at 21:54 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
For those curious, some generation info.

The birth years for each generation:

iGen, Gen Z or Centennials: Born 1996 and later.
Millennials or Gen Y: Born 1977 to 1995.
Generation X: Born 1965 to 1976.
Baby Boomers: Born 1946 to 1964.
War Babies, Traditionalists or Silent Generation: Born 1945 and before.

http://genhq.com/faq-info-about-generations/
October 25, 2016 at 5:54 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Seraphim:

"I wish I had Mark's no-list and dynamic lists and unique applications of Colley's Rule (on which FV and FVP are based), and Goldratt's Theory of Constraints and Thinking Processes, when I was in my twenties! We expect great things from you. :-)"

Thanks, my forum brotha! I agree whole-heartedly—I wish I'd found Mark's work in my early twenties! Man would I be further along! As I'm among the elder millenials I thankfully missed the whole helicopter-parenting trend and the "everybody gets a trophy" bubble-wrapped childhood madness. So I can see the perspective of both the independent Gen-Xers and the collaborative Millennials.

But I also spent the majority of my early childhood around my war baby grandma! I relished her highly-detailed recollections of life in the service during World War II in Sunderland, and some of the habits that were baked into her during that experience got baked into me to a degree. Particularly her rich sense of humor during times of stress or chaos. Such a funny woman.
October 25, 2016 at 6:29 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Michael B:

You grandmother came from Sunderland? That's where my grandfather came from. He and his father and grandfather before him used to own the brewery in Bishop Middleham - Forster's Ales. Unfortunately I was too young to have ever drunk any. The site of the brewery is now a public park.
October 25, 2016 at 8:08 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Hugo beat me to it: This is very similar to the 5 why methodology, which I've adapted to solving personal problems before.
October 25, 2016 at 11:44 | Unregistered CommenterAustin
I liked The Goal, though the style gets a bit plonking at times.

It all comes down to, "make the slow kid walk in front". My kids are all safely released to the wild, and will probably never know why...

(Yes, of course I explained it to them. But I'm their father...)
October 25, 2016 at 12:58 | Registered CommenterWill
The general best problem solving method I know, especially for messy problems, is the KJ diagram (now known as "Language Processing (TM)". It's a way of structuring your observations and identifying the key issues. Basically, affinity diagramming on steroids.

There's a slightly watered down version here: http://opim.wharton.upenn.edu/~ulrich/documents/ulrich-KJdiagrams.pdf

(And incidentally, the "Yo Wan" ritual has nothing to do with Japanese culture. A TQM guru was having trouble with the Management team of DEC Italy, who kept going back to previous steps rather than following the process through. So he invented a tradition, on the fly, to make it too embarrassing to keep closing the same step.

I'm sure Mark has run into similar situations, and would be fascinated to know what tricks, if any, he employed.)
October 25, 2016 at 13:17 | Registered CommenterWill
Seraphim,

I instinctively prefer the original method. Problem solving without a brainstorm feels just... wrong. And there isn't the constant stream of new stuff to control.

In some ways the problem is the reverse of action management: we want to expand our thinking to include as much as possible before we focus in on the critical few points.

But I haven't tried either yet!
October 25, 2016 at 13:51 | Registered CommenterWill
Will:
<< It all comes down to, "make the slow kid walk in front". >>

That's only Step 2 out of the Five Steps. :-)

1. Identify the slow kid.
2. Make the slow kid walk in front.
3. See what you can do with your current resources to help the slow kid go faster.
4. Consider material improvements to help the slow kid go faster.
5. If the slow kid isn't the slow kid anymore, then repeat from (1.)

But for me, the core insight was the fact that every throughput system will have a single bottleneck. The more complex the system, the more likely this is to be true. That core concept is what leads to the Five Steps above, and it's the thing that makes bottleneck management so powerful:
(1) If you improve the bottleneck, you immediately improve the whole system.
(2) (Maybe even more important!) If you improve a non-bottleneck, you will not have any impact at all on the whole system.
October 25, 2016 at 16:20 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Will wrote:
<< The general best problem solving method I know, especially for messy problems, is the KJ diagram (now known as "Language Processing (TM)". >>

Thanks for this! I will look into it some more.
October 25, 2016 at 16:21 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Will wrote:
<< I instinctively prefer the original method. Problem solving without a brainstorm feels just... wrong. >>

That was my immediate feeling as well. No-List FVP never worked for me, for the same reason, it lacked the brain-dump aspect. I need to get all the stuff on my mind out on paper so I can evaluate it. It's even more of a necessity in this problem-solving method.

The thing I do like about the second method is the completeness of it. I'm trying to rewrite it again to include the brainstorming of the first, simpler method; but also bring it full circle to completion; and see if this actually improves on the first version.
October 25, 2016 at 16:25 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
@ Mark Forster:

> Am I the only War Baby here?

No - me too - born while the V-2s were still falling.

And with some wartime hankypanky in the matter of paternity ...
October 26, 2016 at 12:23 | Unregistered CommenterChris Cooper
I am one the 1947 Baby Boom crop, the beneficiary of Mum and Dad meeting in 1943, married in 1946.

One of my aunts (Dad's sister) was a welfare officer in the Women's Royal Navy Service (WRNS, known as Wrens). One day a crying Wren came to her, the usual story, impregnated by 'someone'.

"Name, rank?" = "Don't know"
"Was he in uniform?" = "Can't remember."
"Describe him in terms of clothing etc." = "Sob, sob."
"Can you tell my anything about him?" = "Yes."
"What?" = "He wore a trilby hat."

Those were the nights in the blackout.
October 26, 2016 at 13:13 | Unregistered CommenterRoger J
Mark:

"Your grandmother came from Sunderland? That's where my grandfather came from. He and his father and grandfather before him used to own the brewery in Bishop Middleham - Forster's Ales. Unfortunately I was too young to have ever drunk any. The site of the brewery is now a public park."

Yes, Fulwell and Seaburn. Maybe your grandfather left a secret Forster's Ales time-capsule beneath the public park with a pint or two in it—for the sake of the children; you might still get a taste yet! My great-aunt Marion owned a chippy there that was popular with the hungry children. They'd hang round near close and she'd give them newspaper-bundles of leftover cod and chips.

By the way, why are we not seeing a modern incarnation of Forster's Ales?! That's a fantastic name for a brewery. Maybe you can re-light that torch. I'll fly over and have a pint or 10 with you.
October 26, 2016 at 13:42 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Seraphim,

Just making the slow kid walk in front has an effect, as the family all moves at the same pace and doesn't get spread out, need constant rounding up and so on.

I lost very few, if any, of my children.
October 26, 2016 at 15:36 | Registered CommenterWill
Seraphim:

<< (1) If you improve the bottleneck, you immediately improve the whole system. (2) (Maybe even more important!) If you improve a non-bottleneck, you will not have any impact at all on the whole system. >>

An example of changing bottlenecks, which I often used to refer to when coaching, is that when you start a business the limiting factor is how many clients you can get. When you start being successful your limiting factor is how many clients you can handle. Many new businesses don't succeed in transitioning from the one to the other.
October 26, 2016 at 23:33 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Michael B:

<< That's a fantastic name for a brewery. >>

Unfortunately I think the name would belong to Newcastle Breweries who bought the brewery. They then were were merged with Scottish Brewers to make Scottish & Newcastle, which is now owned by Heineken UK Limited. I don't think I can be bothered to ask them for the name back!
October 26, 2016 at 23:41 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Will:

<< The general best problem solving method I know, especially for messy problems, is the KJ diagram (now known as "Language Processing (TM)". It's a way of structuring your observations and identifying the key issues. >>

It sounds very much the method I use for producing a book outline. I use Word set to Outline view.

1. I write down every idea I have for the book, one line each idea. This process can take several months.
2. When I'm satisfied that I've got a book's worth of ideas, I start grouping the ideas together in Chapters.
3. Then I arrange the Chapters in a logical order.
4. Then I write an outline of the main thrust of the book, which becomes the introduction.
October 27, 2016 at 0:01 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Roger J:

<< "He wore a trilby hat." >>

Not in uniform - therefore probably a civilian as everyone who was entitled to a uniform would wear it all the time in WW2. Trilbys were worn by people of "officer class" in the 30s and 40s so he was probably a comparatively well-off man who was "slumming it". That would suggest a doctor or public school master. (Public school in England = Private School elsewhere) as doctors and teachers were reserved occupations. Most public school masters and civilian doctors during the war were ancient, often brought back from retirement, as all the young ones joined up nevertheless. Travel was very limited in those days, so your aunt would have been well-advised to do a trawl of any local medical schools. If this incident happened in the British Museum area i.e. Leicester Square the area is teeming with medical schools.
October 27, 2016 at 0:21 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Will wrote:
<< Just making the slow kid walk in front has an effect >>

Yes, it does! I wasn't trying to argue against that. I was just pointing out that there is more to the book than just that one principle (which alone made the book worthwhile!).
October 30, 2016 at 20:31 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
Mark,

<< That sounds very elegant - which of course doesn't necessarily mean that it works. But I must try it out - and soon! >>

Did you ever have a chance to try out the No-List-FVP version of this method?

Like I wrote above, it didn't work out for me. And the more comprehensive method that I was proposing, was too time-consuming -- I was never able to finish the process. So I am back to using my original method.
October 30, 2016 at 20:35 | Registered CommenterSeraphim