Friday, June 17, 2011

Scrabble Exercise

This week, I’m going to share with you a creative writing exercise that I’ve been wanting to try for a while (i.e. every time I’ve played Scrabble in the last four years).

Every time I play Scrabble, once the game is over, I wonder at the interesting collection of words that the players put on the board. Some are simple, and some are great feats of Scrabble smartness. Isn’t it kind of disappointing to destroy the words and put the tiles away after so slowly and carefully considering and creating each word?

So here is a fun way to keep the Scrabble board alive for a little while longer, get your creative juices flowing and practice your writing.

Here’s the exercise:

1.       Play an actual game of Scrabble.

2.       Make a list of all the words on the Scrabble board, once you're done the game. To make the writing part easier, put nouns in one column, verbs in another, and all the rest in a third column marked “Other” (adjectives, etc.)

3.       Write a story using all the words on the board. The story must have a proper introduction/setting, climax and resolution/conclusion.

4.       My story, below, is less than 500 words. You could increase the difficulty by creating a story with fewer words (400, 300, 200, even 100 or whatever), or make it easier by writing a story with more words.

5.       If you are of a competitive nature, you could even make this into a competition with other people! The person with the "shortest/most concise" story (based on a word count) or "best" story (based on a vote) could be the winner. You could also award bonus points for any Scrabble word used more than once in the story.

That’s it!

This Scrabble exercise is great because:

·         The creative side of your brain is used to make up a story.

·         The logical side of your brain is used to make reasonable connections between the words by stringing random words into a logical narrative.

·         While when you played Scrabble, you had to make letters into words using other words’ letters, in this exercise, you have to turn words into a story using the words played in Scrabble—it’s like Scrabble squared or something!


If you don’t care to “write” a story, try using the list of Scrabble words and verbally tell a story to your friends or kids or whatever, as you make it up. Cross off each word as you use it. This variation, because it's more spontaneous, would probably be even more hilarious!

Without further ado, here’s my example. The words from the Scrabble game I played recently (with two other people, not just me!) are in green:

The Pointy Poet's Preposterous Plan

Once upon a time, a crazed poet got the crazy idea that he could win the affections of a pure, beautiful dame named Artemisia. He was determined to win her with his wit. He certainly set high goals for himself!

The poet did what he did best: he lit a candle, took up his quill and wrote a poem.

The poet then rode through the ivy-covered gates of the village and into the rural country where Artemisia’s estate was located. With a nod of his pointy head, topped with a pointy poet hat, he delivered his poem to the butler. With a turn of his pointy shoe, he pranced confidently back to his horse. “Ha, ha!” he exclaimed, “She will not resist me after she reads that!”

                                                                             ~ ~ ~ 

Within the estate, Artemisia received the poem. She read it to herself:

I have run to you
My heart is at war with my head
The web of my quad muscles tightens
As I think of you
As I dream of you
As I ache for you
For you zig through my heart
And you zag through my head
Please come and see me
Before I’m gone

-your anonymous Lover

With a pale hand to her chest, Artemisia re-read the poem, confused. Who could this beautifully-written poem be from? The mystery piqued her interest. She felt she had a connection with this person. Was it too soon for her to molt from a young woman into a young lover?

The pure, innocent dame noticed a clandestine meeting place and time written at the bottom of the page. #3 Loony Lane. Tomorrow!  She had better get to bed early and get some beauty sleep!

                                                   ~ ~ ~ 

The next day, Artemisia arrived at the meeting place with jags of nervous energy and a stomach brimming with butterflies. It was a little house, and the only notable item was a sack of fennel in one corner.

As she looked around, she saw two pots coming at her head, felt them hit her and then saw only blackness.

                                                   ~ ~ ~ 

Artemisia awoke in bed to the sound of fennel being chopped up with a little herb ax.

“Well, hey! How are you feeling?”

Artemisia turned to see an odd, pointy man standing near the fennel.

“Some less-than-clever men tried to ambush you, but I saved you! I was happy to see them fail. What’s your name?”

Artemisia, quite confused, scared and astonished, found her rescuer to be a little off. Something didn’t make sense, but she couldn’t put her finger on it.

One thing she knew was that she had to leave. So she left, a little unsteadily. She didn’t trust that pointy man. She didn’t even know if he tithed or not.

“Where are you going?” the poet cried, prancing to the door. Unfortunately, as he crossed an uneven floorboard, the pointy toe of his shoe caused him to trip and fall, and thus he was powerless to stop Artemisia from leaving.

                                                                            ~The End~

That's it!

No comments:

Post a Comment