Writing Suggestion: Fictional Gambling

Having trouble coming up with new ideas for a story? Here’s one possible solution: Gamble.

But not for money. Almost certainly, the spinning roulette wheel is just going to be the accretion disk around a monetary black hole. The house always wins, and writers make little enough money as it is. So instead, gamble for ideas. All you need is a little bit of creativity, a die (with any number of sides you want), and a list of possible outcomes.

Let’s say you’re having trouble finding the personality and occupation of a character to write about in your story, and you have a six-sided die. You can write a list that might look a little something like this:

1. Hard boiled bounty hunter.

2. Optimistic surgeon.

3. Big-hearted bouncer.

4. Alcoholic florist. (Don’t ask)

5. Kleptomaniac plumber.

6. Philandering cyborg.

Then, of course, you start developing the character that the die rolls on.

One advantage of this is the variety, both in outcomes and in the aspects of story creation it can be applied to. Thousands of combinations can be found if you write similar lists for possible plot developments, character fates, worldbuilding, possible villains, subplots, inciting incidents, and possible stakes in the story.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of this game, however, is that it can be ignored. If the die rolls on the philandering cyborg but you really wanted to write the alcoholic florist, then of course you can dispose of the bucket of bolts and overactive flesh. Sometimes just thinking about different options gives you the push you need.

Now go create, and may your imaginings never run dry.


With the End in Sight…

After a lot of freeze-ups and mediocre resolve to finish my novels, and more than a few nights wondering if  I was ever going to finish it, the end is in sight. Now things are clipping along with a little more purpose in sight. It looks like there is a point to the whole novel again. I love those moments of clarity when you start remembering what the book is about. Yay. Speaking in terms of war, the troops have just hit the beaches of Normandy, and by tonight (at a writer’s workshop, where more words shall be written), they will have taken the whole shoreline.

Of course, it’s awfully early to declare victory now. So, having to remember that I could easily become lazy again…I choose to not let that happen. I resolve to write a bare minimum of 1,500 words per day, from now until the end of the month. I’ll keep a progress report going on this, until the book is done. Even if the novel doesn’t quite get finished by the end of January, I want to see how close to that date I can get, how fast I can write.

So, in the immortal words of King Theoden, “Ride for ruin, and the world’s ending!”

I shall soon meet with you again, everyone.