Write Using The Cut-Up Method

In this exercise, we will look at using The Cut-Up Method to help us stumble over new ideas.

Of course, you can use newspapers or magazines and scissors to do this, but you can also use digital texts and cut them up using the tools below.


At the bottom of the page are videos of David Bowie and writer, William S. Burroughs explaining the Cut-up Method to writing.


A task for you before you start exploring some of the tools below:

Go to these sites and find a text that maybe resonates with you for some reason. You don't have to read it, but that might be a good idea, but because you can download these works as text, you might find that you can use them as raw material, to throw into the some of the tools below.

I chose the caterpillar scene from Alice in Wonderland and Moby Dick.

p.s I had a picture of some chapbook text, and used the OCR tool below to get (most of) the text out of the picture.

Card image cap

Free Audio Books and Poetry

Huge List of Free Audio Poetry and Audio Books

Card image cap

Project Gutenberg


A collection of thousands of free to read and use texts, from Trump's inaugural speech to Alice in Wonderland.


If you downloaded some text from above, you take a few paragraphs and enter it into The Cut Up Machine or The Text Mixing Desk or the N+7 Machine and see if they give you something you can work with.

Some of these tools need you to put text in, some tools like the Geo Poetry Generator create random poems for you that you can improve on.

Why not use the Random Word Generator like the Storycubes, and generate three nouns that you have to weave together into a brief poem? Or maybe What3Words to do a similar thing?

Lastly Write With Transformer is an amazing tool. You start... Artificial Intelligence  continues... and takes your writing in places you wouldn't expect.



Card image cap

The N+7 Machine

Mashup your text with the N+7 method

Card image cap

Text Mixing Desk

Enter text and it scrambles it up

Card image cap

Talk To Transformer

See how a modern neural network completes your text. Type a custom snippet and see what is generated

Card image cap

Poetry Generator

Poetry Generator with Markov Chains

Card image cap


Art project that generates a poem and image for you.

Card image cap

Cut Up Machine

Enter text and it scrambles it up


Listen to David Bowie about using the cut-up method. 

Card image cap

David Bowie and the Cut-up Technique