By Sophie Nadel, Writer’s Tips Editor
A lot of people, when thinking about writing, imagine people hunched over notebooks scribbling madly with a pen. This is one way of writing, but you don’t need a notebook to be a writer, and you certainly don’t need to be alone. There are so many writing games that are great to hone your writing skills, find inspiration to start a story, or just have a good time with friends! You can play in person or together over the Internet. So without further ado, get your friends together, and get ready to play!
Hot Laptop/Hot Notebook
This is a great game to play with a notebook or a computer. To begin, everyone playing gets a writing prompt, and for five minutes or so, everyone writes the opening to a story based on the prompt. The story can be written in a computer or a notebook. After the time is up, everyone passes the notebooks or computers to the person next to him or her. Now, everyone has a new story. He or she reads what is there so far and, when the timer starts, writes for five more minutes, adding to what is already there. Keep repeating this process until the notebooks or computers have traveled in a full circle and reached the original author. Then, enjoy reading and sharing the stories that everyone has contributed to writing!
In this game, all of the players are given three pieces of paper on which to draw. They label the pieces, “C,” “O,” and “W,” which stands for “Character,” “Obstacle,” and “Want.” On the “C” paper, each player draws a character. On the “W” paper, each player draws something the character wants. Finally, on the “O” paper, each player draws an obstacle, or something that prevents a character from obtaining his or her want. When everyone is finished drawing, the C’s, O’s, and W’s are collected in separate piles. Each writer then randomly chooses a drawing from each pile so that everyone has a character, obstacle, and want. The goal of this game is to write a story using the C drawing as a character, the W drawing as the character’s want, and the O drawing as the obstacle. No words or symbols are allowed on the paper, and if something in the drawing is unclear, it is up to the writer to interpret however they see fit. Finally, after writing, share the stories with each other!
This game is for a long-term project as opposed to Hot Laptop/Notebook and COW, which are prompt games. The main purpose of Character Interrogation is to develop characters and help overcome writer’s block. During the game, one player takes the role of interviewer while the other one, the interviewee, pretends to be the other’s character. The interviewer should ask the writer, disguised as the character, random questions about himself or herself, recording the answers. It is an improvisational activity, so the interviewee should answer with the first response that comes to mind. You’ll be surprised at how much this game helps to develop your character and make him or her more realistic.
There are many writing activities available for any type of writer at any stage of the writing process. The games that I mentioned are some of my favorites, so be sure to get your friends together and try them out! Have fun, and keep writing!