Thursday, January 28, 2010

Excuses excuses

"If God exists, I hope he has a good excuse." -- Woody Allen

So, what *is* his or her or its excuse?

You're an investigative reporter -- here, in the future, in the afterworld? -- and you've tracked down Earth's god. Was creation of the Earth a cosmic joke? Was it a child's experiment? Was it a project the creator forgot about? Or can love and war and compassion and tragedy all be logically explained (though perhaps not exactly in a way the denizens of Earth might appreciate!)?

Did the project turn out as God expected? What surprised him or her and why?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sleep talking man

Sleep talking. No one could make this stuff up. And you don't need to! The Sleep Talkin' Man's wife's is taping what he says each night and transcribing the good parts. (There are a few sound bites too.)

I'll let you take it where you will. Some of the lines could make for a very forthright character ;-) Some of the more cryptic lines might be prophetic. Or perhaps he's a spy and he wants to tell his wife what's going on but his spy training only allows it to come out coded in his sleep. Or ...?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fairy tale detective

One more! (I think ;-)

You're a detective in the world that inspired fairy tales. Whether you preserve the medieval elements of the society or modernize it or cartoonize it is up to you. Dragons can be dragons or dictators and pigs could be anthropomorphic pigs or kids of local politicians ;-)

Pick a fairy tale and investigate the happenings: at the beginning as they unfold, in the middle or after the fact. Maybe the situation is nothing like was depicted in the fairy tale. Maybe Cinderella was the wicked one. Maybe Rapunzel was mad and locked away for everyone's safety. Maybe Snow White was a seductress who was kicked out of the castle but the royals want that kept hush hush.

The fairy tale list (and links to other lists) is at Fairy Tales, and a random picker at Tale of Two Tales.

When you're done, here are some examples of the fairy tale and detective story combinations:

The Fairy Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm series) -- Grades 4-6

Max Hamm, Fairy Tale Detective -- a Golden Book format, but for grades 8 and up

Jack Milton: Fairy Tale Detective -- an 18 min short film. (Some PG-13 content.)

Grimm Fairy Tales -- Not for kids and not a detective, but they are some dark turns on fairy tales

Once Upon a Crime -- Popular mystery writers re-imagine some fairy tales with some twisted results.

Bill Willingham's Fables series -- the legendary folk were forced out of their land and live disguised in New York city in a luxury apartment building. Then Snow White's party-girl sister, Rose Red, is murdered.

The Big Over Easy: A Nursery Crime is the first in the comedic Nursery Crime series by Jasper Fforde that's rife with word play.

A couple of list thats includes some detective fairy tales (some already mentioned): Graphic Novels and Fairy Tale Detectives.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A tale of two tales

Combine two fairy tales. (Yes, I'm on a fairy tale kick :-)

Stretch yourself and pick the first pair that you recognize. Or keep clicking until you feel a spark. (The generator uses these 30 Fairy tales which are mostly Western (and ones I am familiar with). There are more extensive lists of tales linked there also.)

There's a good list of crossover fairy tales at the Sur La Lune board post Fairy tale crossovers? if you'd like to explore the genre.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chairy tales

List 30 ways to use a chair. (You may use the pictured chair or one or several from your imagination.)

It can be the sweet, funny, unusual purposes a single chair has been used throughout its life. Perhaps a poem?

It can be a brainstorming session of unexpected uses for chairs (altering or destroying them as you wish.)

Or it can be part of one of the collaborative public arts projects where artists are given the exact same statue and painted, sculpted, added to them to come up with 100 unique designs.

Pittsburgh's DinoMite dinosaurs, New Mexico's Trail of Painted Ponies, other similar city arts projects around the world mentioned in Wikipedia's CowParade article.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tale mail

(Click on the Picassa icon (lower right) to see larger versions.)

Write an email or series of emails from one fairy tale character to another after the big event of the story.
For example:
To: Cinderella
From: Your Stepsister
Date: After the Wedding

To: Mom
From: Your Little Pig

To: Little Red Riding Hood
From: Your Mother

To: The Seven Dwarfs
From: Snow White

To: Jack
From: The Giant
There's a list of familiar Fairy Tales and links to more extensive lists.

The photographs are from the Fallen Princesses series by Dina Goldstein. (It took a while for it to load for me.) A quote from Dina about the series from a JPEG Magazine article (no longer available) is preserved in the comments to this post.

(Idea from Storybook Memos.)

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Star Feud

Pick two sets of your favorite characters (your own or other people's). Put them on Family Feud. Come up with the questions then come up with the answers those characters would give for that category.

Never seen Family Feud? There's an episode of Celebrity Family Feud on line so you can see the format. (There's a commercial, but that's what makes it free :-)

The goal on the show isn't to guess the right answer but to guess the most popular answers as given by audience poll. For this exercise questions about ordinary life might be the most amusing, like "What is the first thing you do in the morning?" "What's a child's favorite toy?" Your characters' ideas of what ordinary people do will be based on their own ideas of ordinary or their warped idea of what ordinary peons are like ;-)

This would lend itself well to a comic strip or book format (using images from the internet if you're leery of your drawing skills). You could use Power Point (or the Mac-equivalent Keynote) to create a click from panel to panel comic.

If you enjoy the comics format, there are several commercial and free products to help you create comics.
  • Comic Life Deluxe: Comic Strip, Comic Book Creator (Mac) (which can create comics from images) looks really cool. Amazon has some other choices too.
  • CNET has several freebies and free trials to download. (I've used CNET a lot over the years. They're safe and virus free.)
  • Googling "make your own comics" brings up a lot of online options like Make Beliefs Comix that was mentioned here a while ago.