You’re A Bored Writer? I Got Something For You.
So yesterday, after a particularly frustrating bout of writer's block, I sat down and wrote up an exercise for writers struggling to produce something. It's meant to be a fun exercise, for beginning writers and advanced writers alike, and it goes a little something like this:
- Look around. Choose a color in your room. That’s the name of your character. And yes, it can be a strange color word you only see on crayons, like “mauve” or “cerulean”.
- Go to a news site. Find a story you like. Magnify it times ten and add a supervillain. This is what your character is fighting for (or against).
- Get on Facebook or pull out your high school yearbook. Find your old friends. Choose one. S/he’s your sidekick.
- The name of your favorite band will somehow be closely related to your main character’s power. I don’t know how. You work it out.
- Write an epic battle scene. But before you do, go to Wiktionary’s main page and look at their word for the day. Incorporate the word, or the concepts it embodies, in the battle scene.
- Rescue the love interest. I don’t care how you do it. Just do it.
- Get the yearbook or Facebook out again. Find some more friends. Get your band of heroes together. Give them powers based on what Pokémon you think they would be (or what kind of trainer they would be).
- Chase the bad guy around some. Wreck some parks. Throw some cars. Save some babies and small children. You know the drill.
- Oh yeah, I forgot. Write down what superpower you would have if you could (can’t be the same as the power your current character has).
- The superpower you just wrote down is the power of your supervillain. Only taken to the power of x (which is determined by counting the days since you last shaved ((legs for the ladies, faces for the men)); no exceptions).
- Kill the love interest. Brutally. No exceptions.
- To the yearbook this time (Facebook is useless for this step, unless you have frenemies. In which case, you’re using the ‘friend’ feature on Facebook the wrong way.). Hunt down all your high school enemies. Give them sinister names based on. . . on. . . uh. . . your dead pets. They are now the minions of the supervillain.
- Write down the scent of the deodorant you use. This is the name of the new love interest that also happens to be one of the supervillain’s minions (or lieutenant) and may have also killed the previous love interest (if you’re twisted like that).
- Time for another epic battle scene. Flip a coin. Tails, the new love interest beats the main character and has to be convinced to join the good guys (or at the very least, not kill the main character). Heads, you flip again. And again. Until you get tails.
- Get ready for the final battle. The band of heroes goes to eat at your favorite fast-food restaurant.
- Save the world after an epic 3-page battle.
- The character with the most consonants (or vowels) in his/her name is killed in the battle.
- Everybody mourns. Then the main character and love interest make out.
- Set things up for a sequel.
- Rinse and repeat.
Right there you have the bare bones of the story, and I made it so there's a lot of flex room for what you do. It can be 5 pages or 500, if you want. It's meant to be fun, and tromps all over the stock archetypes of stories with this kind of format. Most of all, it's meant to spark creativity by drawing inspiration from the random and arbitrary things in life we never think about.