Sunday, September 24, 2006

Dragon Writing sticks

Here's the list of words that I used for the writing prompt -- though more of a game really! -- in the Dragon Writing fun shop at the Live and Learn Conference. (Click on Comments at the bottom of the post for a list of the words.)

For those who weren't there, I had a whole bunch (maybe 300) colored popsicle sticks with words written on both sides. We drew a bunch of sticks and tried to come up with fantasy tabloid headlines.

The only instruction I gave was to choose 2 sticks of each color. That just gives you a good mixture of word types to start working with. You don't need to use them all. You don't need to use each color. You can throw back and redraw any that aren't working and draw whatever color. Whatever helps!

I used two packs of colored popsicle sticks and put words on each side. I can't remember how many were in each pack. (150 maybe?)

Plain - Conjunctions and Prepositions. These are the only ones that have 4 to a stick. Katelyn came up with this idea in the headlines she sent to the list and it seemed to make them more interesting. I went through the newspaper and kept track of the prepositions that were most common. There are multiple copies of each set. Katelyn needed an "on" a couple of times so I made one but it's all by its lonesome at the moment. There's a list of prepositions at Test Magic. Way more than the newspaper headlines ever use! ;-)

Green - Places and Objects. Probably the least useful category but interesting to have.

Red - Verbs. There are more words than I had sticks for so I colored some plain sticks with a red marker.

Blue and Purple - People and Creatures. Probably the most useful category since the nouns can often do double duty as adjectives: vampire astrologist for instance.

Yellow and Orange - Adjectives. If I were doing it again, I would change what adjectives I could to nouns, like "baby" for instance. (Especially since I had extra blue and purple and ran short of yellow and orange so had to make some.)

Using colored sticks isn't important. It's just less annoying. My daughter and I have another set of just plain sticks with random words on it originally intended to generate manga-ish story ideas. They've expanded beyond that (a recent one had something to do with a local radio personality and sparkly pants ;-) But since they're all the same color, it's annoyingly easy to pull out a whole series of nouns as you search for a verb.

I don't know if it makes a difference but, as I was writing them, I had the words printed in two columns (4 columns for the adjectives) and chose the word for one side of a stick from column A and the other side of the stick from column B so all the "a"s, for instance, weren't clustered onto the same sticks. As I said I'm not sure if it makes a difference but it seemed to make sense at the time!
Post a Comment