Writer’s Block: Dictionary stories

Published February 10, 2013 by ElisaChristy

There are various methods I try if I am having trouble writing. One of them is procrastination, not really a method so much as a firm belief that if I spend all day clearing out the fridge, I’ll magically be able to write at the end of it. It hasn’t worked yet  I usually then decide to clear out the freezer too, because that’ll help.

However, some of my methods do sometimes actually work, one of these methods is ‘dictionary stories’. You don’t actually need a dictionary to write them – you just need three words, any three words. I started using a dictionary once I had exhausted the options I had around me in my room – there are only so many stories you can write involving the words “desk, lamp” and “chair”.

The point of a dictionary story – if you are using a dictionary – is to randomly choose three words, and use them to make up the plot of your story – it doesn’t need to be long, just long enuogh for you to actually be able to write something.

Closing your eyes and pointing at a word seems to work best for me, otherwise I tend to just start leafing through the dictionary for words I most like the sound of – thus more procrastination – Trying it just now gave me the three words: Kind-hearted, homesick and fisticuffs.

Then I try to incoperate these three words into the story, so as those three words are making me think of the hobbit film – I don’t know why – You could start by saying “The kind-hearted hobbit went on an adventure, where he got homesick and engaged in fisticuffs.”

Although of course, the story should be longer than a sentence, otherwise you’re just going to go and clear out the fridge again, once you’ve finished.


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