The Basic Algorithm, Recipe, or Formulæ, for creativity:


a + e = æ

In words:

Combine two “old” things to get a “new” thing, and it works.

(Note: It has to work! Otherwise, it’s not creative: new + useful + surprising)

See Martindale’s great quote:

`Ultimately, all creative products have this quality: old ideas or elements are combined in new ways. This is the case for all domains of creativity.

(Martindale, 1989, p. 212).

But see also Hornell Hart on it, earlier in 1959…

EV alg SVT

And the æternal symbol Æ lives on…!

I mean, who can forget Virgil’s ÆNID, from the year 19 BC?

[Not so hard if you never heard of it before, I guess.]

Or, Ædrea, the beautiful mutant from Saint Leibowitz & the Wild Horse Woman?

[…hmm, ditto.]

ÆNYWAY… there’s an interesting ævolutionary trajectory of


as it occurs in the word:


Næmely, 3-way battle (or: evolutionary survival tournament) for the spelling of encyclopedia… (versus: encyclopaedia, and encyclopædia)…

Google NGram encyclopædia,encyclopaedia,encyclopedia

…We have a winner!

(i.e.: the spelling: encyclopedia)

…The grapheme, æsc or ash, [æ] formed out of the letters a and e, went archive… (Rather than: canon… Extinct, rather than extant.)

For more, see: Evolutionary Culturology.

Or, don’t…?

Free will is good like that.

In terms of Information Theory, or, Communication Theory (thanks to Claude Shannon 1948, etc!) what’s interesting (well, if you find it so) is:

The letter e, the most frequently-appearing [or: populous, or fecund] letter / alphabetic-symbol, occurs around 12% of the time in, the units of culture (aka: memes) we know as: [english] words.

Dig on, this, my boogie chillun:

`A century before Shannon, Samuel Morse (inspired by some experimental rifling through a typesetter’s box of iron characters) had built his hunches about letter frequency into his telegraph code, assigning “E” an easy single dot and “Q” a more cumbersome dash-dash-dot-dash.

Morse got it roughly right: by Shannon’s time, it was known that about 12 percent of English text is the letter “E,” and just 1 percent the letter “Q.”’

(Soni & Goodman 2019, p. 146)

See, this deeply-fantastic book, for more detail on: all this sorta stuff…!

[omg i heart this sorta stuff]

So – the point being, a lot of letters in English words are: rdndnt! (redundant).

About 50% in fact.


…You can cut all th_ _’s out, and a sntnc will still mak sns.

Srry, I mnt 2 sy:

You c_n cut _ll the e‘s out _nd _ sentence will still m_ke sense.

In other word:


Soz, I mnt to sy:


And which is why the word (unit of culture) encyclopædia evolved over time to a more efficient version of itself: encyclopedia. (See that NGram chart, above.)

This all leads to:

Information Compression.

(Thank you Claude Shannon!)

…U cn cmprs sntncs, lk ths.

Lk whn we txt ech othr on r cll fonz.

By lvng t, th vwls.

and yes, “y” is a fake vowel.

(…Sneaki! …Camoflage.)

And what about all those silent k‘s?

knife, knight, knave, knowing

They’re free-riders, dagnabbit. You [k]now it.

Still, it means crossword puzzles are not only possible, but also: fun.

(Well; if you like that sort of thing.)

Anyway – I say, check out Shannon’s amazing 1948 paper.

Shannon, C. E. (1948). A Mathematical Theory of Communication. The Bell System Technical Journal, 27 (July-October), 379–423, 623–656.

And, the 1949 book, with some extra stuff added (mainly just: glowing praise) by Warren Weaver:

Shannon, C. E., & Weaver, W. (1949). The Mathematical Theory of Communication. University of Illinois Press.

Okay – so,

now, I must warn you –

next, I’m gonna talk about agency & structure.

Structures give constraints – but also affordances.

Think: laws, or rules, that you can bend, or break.

Like say: gravity, or, murder.

(But – I note – there is always a cost/benefit ratio attached to bending – or breaking – rules / laws.)

Here comes another quote from the brilliant book A Mind At Play (02019), and I am going to bold the bit that relates to agency & structure (…or, so-called “free will”):

`…we know that our freedom to insert any letter into a line of English text is also constrained by the character that’s just come before.

“K” is common after “C,” but almost impossible after “T.”

A “Q” demands a “U.”

Shannon had tables of these two-letter “digram” frequencies, but rather than repeat the cumbersome process, he took a cruder tack, confident that his point was still made.’

(Soni & Goodman 02019, p. 147)

Hey, so – why don’t, we spell these words, like this:




qik (i.e., quick)



…Another key point to consider is:


In language, for a message (well; for a cipher, anyway) double-vowels and double-consonants are redundant… and, so is the letter `e’.


(I was reminded of that by reading page 150 of the brilliant book A Mind At Play.)

Also, as the excellent (Soni & Goodman 2018/9) book reminds us, check out, The Gold Bug by Edgar Allen Poe… See the last part of it, which talks about: all this kinda stuff.


N-E-way, so: thr u go…?

& …Thx 4 rdg!


…Thoughts / Comments / Feedback, almost-always most welcome.


Dr Joe T Velikovsky

Evolutionary Creativity Guy

& Creative Technologist

& High-RoI Story/Screenplay/Movie and Transmedia Researcher, & whatnot

…The above post is (mostly & probably) an adapted excerpt, from my doctoral thesis: “Communication, Creativity and Consilience in Cinema”.

It is presented here for the benefit of fellow screenwriting, filmmaking and creativity researchers. 

For more, see https://aftrs.academia.edu/JTVelikovsky

JT Velikovsky is also a produced feature film screenwriter and million-selling transmedia writer-director-producer. He has been a professional story analyst for major film studios, film funding organizations, and for the national writer’s guild.

For more see: http://on-writering.blogspot.com/


Martindale, C. (1989). Personality, Situation and Creativity. In J. A. Glover, R. R. Ronning & C. R. Reynolds (Eds.), Handbook of Creativity: Perspectives on Individual Differences (pp. 211-232). New York; London: Plenum.

Soni, J., & Goodman, R. (2018). A Mind At Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age. New York: Simon & Schuster.


PPS – Oh, okay then – one more for good luck:

Universal algorithm 4 Creativity

So; yeah…

Oh ok then, just one more. but then that’s IT! (For now, anyways)

Universal algorithm 4 Creativity - persons






2 thoughts on “StoryAlity#6A – a + e = æ

  1. Pingback: StoryAlity#167 – Model-Dependent Realism | StoryAlity

  2. Pingback: StoryAlity#168 – The Problem-Solution Model of Creativity | StoryAlity

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