Producing good writing is often a challenging and complex pre-occupation. If not careful, there is a risk of drowning in a sea of seriousness. If the words and ideas aren’t flowing, I find it usually means I need to play more. After all, if there’s no fun in writing then what’s the point?
Playing with words is a great warm-up exercise and a way to ease the transition into producing quality writing, particularly after a long break.
I enjoy several writing games. Two that I’ve engaged with often over the past 30 years, and in the writing of Light Weaver, is automatic writing, where I spill words onto paper without applying any thought or logic, and the other is word-mining, where I dream up fresh phrases and metaphors, which I store in my notebook for future fuel.
Recently, I’ve enjoyed experimenting with lipograms after being drawn to reading a book by R D Cook titled Between Two Seas. In the following examples, I wrote quick passages without using the letter ‘e’:
‘Your radiance, gold on skin, brightly burning away shadows. You always found a way through with your god-light.
You, all symphony and soliloqy, all that is and all that was, glorious in bliss.
‘This night holds songs in its soul.
Fly my owl boy into star-black
and bring down moon light.
Our world is calling you back.’
‘Spinning out too fast too far
you, all gold and light,
child of sun
chanting air songs at dawn
‘Sky full of snow
tilting towards spring’
‘Crystal light burning
through woodland storm
churning rich black soil
mushroom potion full of visions
of owls flying at night
Bold wisdom in your arms
magical air in your lungs
waking into knowing’
And here’s one without using the letter ‘i’:
‘Sea-blown breeze upon the dunes
sun-blazed sands gleam gold
on the edge between land and sea,
where all moves and changes constantly.’
These were fun pre-breakfast writing games.
Another writing game popped into my head one winter sunrise, and that was to construct several passages using a fibonacci-inspired sequence for the number of words used.
Here’s an example, using the Lucas number sequence:
3. I was there
4. right at the beginning
7. wondering what I was supposed to do
11. because there was no instruction manual or no-one to guide me.
3. it seems strange
4. I had no idea
7. that life would just unfold so beautifully
11. when everything is so unpredictable, so mysterious, and so bloody crazy.
I reckon this game would be ideal for song-writing!
I play with words most often before I’m out of bed or when I have a spare moment. It sharpens the writing reflex. The words and ideas that come forth are never wasted and usually slip into my stories as if they’ve been there all along.
Give it a go. See what word gems manifest for you.