So, hopefully this helps – a creativity lotto! The idea is sort of like having an idea generator on paper for creative exercises on our meeting.
The slightly larger idea behind this is that as far as I’ve been dealing with characters, there’s always two sorts of them. Those, who are created and like first crushes sit around and don’t really have much action going on to bring out their best qualities and those, who are created specifically for the story so the story could continue and get to the end. If you are just at the beginning of writing, then we often don’t either understand the difference of the two or we don’t know what kind of writing way you like.
With “I have a character, but no story” problem usually sounds like “they sit around and do nothing!”. During this year’s nano, I feel like a beginner, but I too had this problem. A good night sleep and it went away again.
For this I have beige, pink and gray labels. These will give you the character (60-year-old Robin Hood for example), a background fact (This character played hide-and-seek with their imaginary friend) and a trivia fact to describe a side of them (who hides a knife in their boots). The facts and characters are built up so they would combine with each other and would create rather light-hearted characters. Yet I tried to keep the facts so that they would hint to what kind of character it would be.
For example in this case with your 60-year-old Robin Hood with imaginary friend as a sign of lonely life and a knife in their boots would give you a character, who has background of lonely life with crooked understanding of modern justice and big question why he hides that knife in the boot?
The green are to bring example of “having the situation” and should give the understanding of how it feels to explore already existing idea and how to work on it.
For example “Spouse sets up shrine to “little gray” aliens in empty bedroom.” What characters would you create? There would be a wife, a husband, maybe some children? Or perhaps the wife’s new cult group lands in and they’ll have a meeting there? Perhaps he’d join?
The yellow labels are sort of “You meet a man in a bar and he tells you that…” sort of labels. They are heavier in topic and I deliberately searched for labels that would be tragic or controversial, like “…a sister tells how they escaped from India after witnessing how their father married her sister off to an old man at the age 0f 4 “. This is to bring them out of their comfort zone and irritate a little. Sometimes it’s good.
By the way – all the ideas I took from yellow newspapers for three days and not from other story generators. Which should be proof enough that all you need to do is open your eyes and look. There are plenty of story ideas to follow. But idea isn’t anything unless you work on it. Sometimes the most unsuitable you come across can be the one that you work through and complete. But you won’t know if you don’t explore them and cast them aside, because it isn’t Picasso of the writing world. But where do you think they got their ideas? By widening their opportunities and trusting the randomly heard idea. I just finished writing 30 days in a row about men, who can dig through asphalt. I should know.
I won’t give here the lists I used for our writing group, but to any writing group enthusiasts – I greatly recommend doing it! If not the Lotto itself, then the assignment itself. Tell your group to find 50 ideas only from their surroundings and newspapers during one week. It’s an eyeopening experience and I seriously recommend it. I’m thinking of doing this next. 🙂