random prompts

Prompt: A Roll of the Dice

Attending a weekend writing retreat led by science fiction author Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Writers in the Grove member, Lorelle VanFossen received permission from Nina to introduce our group to The Story Catcher technique she developed. The following is a summation of the technique for inspiring writing prompts based upon random words and phrases. The document used for the prompt exercise is available for download and printing in a link at the bottom of this post.

Collection of multi-sided, colorful dice.A prompt is anything that inspires you, the writer, to write. It could be a word, a phrase, an idea, and the source of the inspiration could come from anywhere or anything at any moment. The prompt this week was also a workshop on generating random prompts.

How would your writing change if you could generate the serendipity of your prompts on a regular basis, possibly turning it into a habit, a writing exercise used daily?

Nina Kiriki Hoffman developed The Story Catcher, a tool to generate random prompts based upon chance, specifically a roll of the dice.

Nina’s Story Catcher is a booklet where you collect words and phrases as you go through your day-to-day living, twelve words on a page, each page numbered in sequence.

To use the Story Catcher:

  1. Roll one or two standard dice.
  2. Select one or both dice to generate the page number. For page 11, one or both of the dice could total 11. For page 64, one die would be 6 and the other 4.
  3. Turn to that page number and roll again.
  4. Write down the resulting prompt from among the 12 on that page.
  5. Repeat this process three to five more times, noting each word or phrase generated.
  6. Using the resulting randomly generated words or phrase, write your prompt within a 15 minute time limit.

This process generates a completely random set of prompts. Examples might be: (more…)