While you’re gearing up for the National Novel Writing Month Contest — NaNoWriMo, as it’s lovingly called — you can challenge yourself with clever ways to manage your Muse. If you find it tough to get started in the mornings, and your coffee is letting you down, try a word prompt game. It’s easy and anyone can play.
Gather a collection of unrelated words — go easy and pick five words to start — then write a paragraph quickly using those words. This exercise gets the creativity pumping. Your Muse will beg for more but only try one more exercise and leave the Muse agitated. It might get distracted and leave you alone while you create a contest-winning masterpiece!
Improv is a great way to challenge yourself as you break any writer’s block. If you have a group of 5 to 8 friends who want to cheer you on, they can participate in another exercise. Recently, High Desert California Writers Club members joined improv group leaders John and Karen Kane of I6 improv troupe at a Garden Improv Writers Salon, held at the Kane home.
Among several games, “Chained Sentences” seemed to be the favorite. Chained Sentences is a group game where you each improvise by writing one sentence on a clean sheet of paper. You only have a minute to think. Write it down and pass it to the person on your right. Our theme was — what else? — garden improv. When you receive the next sheet from the left, quickly read the prior sentence and create one of your own. Write it down and pass your sheet as the next one comes to you. If you have eight friends you will receive 8 sheets with 8 sentences. On your last sheet (it should have your first sentence at the top) write a nice “moral of the story”, even if it’s maniacally silly or morbidly gruesome. Then try to stop laughing … bet you can’t. The creative juices are flowing!
Here’s a sample of how Improv sentences created a bazaar story idea:
The duck flew over the garden at dawn looking for breakfast. All he could find was a garden of Cadillacs draped in banana leaves. The wind blew, the dust funnels were dancing in trees. “None of this even looks close to being duck food,” he muttered to himself — until he caught sight of a truck labeled “Hostess” driving slowly by on the road that led past the gardens. Shih Tzus and wiener dogs chased the ducks with peanut butter ice cream dripping from their mouths. “All I want is a Twinkie!” said the king duck. Alabaster was the King of the Mallards and was the largest duck. Mostly from eating Twinkies.
Our participants laughed and agreed that garden parties, improv, writing salons, and such are all good ways to make friends and generate some new ideas.
If you like what you see here check with our High Desert Bloggers for more ideas to come.