Searches for gravitational waves (GWs) traditionally focus on persistent sources (e.g., pulsars or the stochastic background) or on transients sources (e.g., compact binary inspirals or core-collapse supernovae), which last for time scales of milliseconds to seconds. We explore the possibility of long GW transients with unknown waveforms lasting from many seconds to weeks. We propose a novel analysis technique to bridge the gap between short O(s) “burst” analyses and persistent stochastic analyses. Our technique utilizes frequency-time maps of GW strain cross power between two spatially separated terrestrial GW detectors. The application of our cross power statistic to searches for GW transients is framed as a pattern recognition problem, and we discuss several pattern-recognition techniques. We demonstrate these techniques by recovering simulated GW signals in simulated detector noise. We also recover environmental noise artifacts, thereby demonstrating a novel technique for the identification of such artifacts in GW interferometers. We compare the efficiency of this framework to other techniques such as matched filtering.