13 Jan

Dice Games for Writers

Posted in Brain Boot Camp, DIY MFA, Writing, Writing Exercises

As a writer, I have found that one of the most versatile (and portable) sources of writing prompts is a set of dice.  There are many writing games you can play with a die and they can help bust through writing blocks.  Here are a few games that work for me.

Writing by Numbers
Roll the die and multiply the number by 10.  That is the number of minutes you have to write.  Do not stop writing.  Keep your hand moving.  If you find yourself getting distracted, bring yourself back and keep writing.  Subject doesn’t matter; what’s important is that you’re writing.  You can do a similar exercise where the number on the die indicates the number of pages you need to fill in your writing session. 

Tip: Writing by hand often helps kill the inner critic.  After all, it’s OK to be messy while scribbling in a journal.

6 Questions
Roll the die.

1=Who?   2=What?   3=When?   4=Where?  5=Why?   6=How?

Use the question to investigate a character from a current project.  Push the question as far as it will go.  For example, if you rolled 1, you might ask “Who is this character?”  “Who is he at the core?”  “Who is he to his friends?”  “His enemies?”

Point of View
Roll the die to determine which POV to write in.

1 = 1st person
2 = 2nd person
3 = 3rd person limited
4 = 3rd person multiple
5 = omniscient
6 = wild card*

*For wild card, choose any other point of view not listed above.  If you’re not sure what the options are, you can find more info on POV in this post.

Roll the die again.
odd # = present tense
even # = past tense

Why Dice Games?

There’s something freeing about leaving some element of one’s writing up to chance.  It’s as though all the responsibility is no longer just in the writer’s hands.  By making your writing time into a game of chance, it can help strip away some of the anxiety or perfectionism which often haunts many writers.

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Comments on this post

  1. Ghenet says:

    These are great. I'm excited to break out my die! 🙂

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