This weekend, my BFF and writer buddy M and I got together for our monthly get-together where we do something writing-related, whether it’s working on a current project, procrastinating on a current project or just feeding off each other’s writer energy as we toss out ideas and chat. As we reclaimed our favorite spot in the back corner of her local library, we talked about what to do that day. She dug out a book of prompts she’d been given, and as I flipped through there were quite a few that sounded interesting. My thoughts, however, kept straying to the little black pouch and the four dice within that sat in a pocket of my laptop tote. That’s them in the picture below. I found them on a whim from a Writers Digest Shop email, and they’re called “Writer’s Blocks.”
They are the coolest. Thing. Ever.
I’ve seen other similar sets, and M herself picked up one with pictographs, but after experimenting with this set this weekend, I’m really pleased and tickled with how fun they are to use. Here’s how they work:
- The red HERO die tells you who is your protagonist. It can be a male or female adult, a male or female child, a non-human or an anti-hero of either gender.
- The green GENRE die provides the type of story/scene to tell: fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, horror, romance or straight literary fiction.
- The blue PLOT die directs the narrative for your Hero, be it an escape, a quest, a rival, redemption, revenge, or protection.
- The orange PLOT TWIST die adds a complication of death, a new character, a trap, illusion, betrayal or a dead end.
It’s easy to imagine all the combinations that could happen from the tossing of the dice. We started out rolling just to see what kinds of combinations would pop up; some were funny (most of the non-human ones), some were downright awful (neither of us wants to go anywhere near the horror genre) and others came up very doable. Apparently, I have a knack for hitting “escape” plots with a “death” twist nearly every roll.
By the end of the day, we’d rolled and chosen four combinations and written four scenes in long hand. M dared me to do the last one in the final half hour before the library closed as we had rolled the same genre, plot and twist but a different hero. My handwriting was pretty illegible, but we made the time limit.
All in all, the dice were great fun, and although our hands hurt a little from all the scribbling and longing for our laptops, we both liked having completed some writing exercises and banking a scene or two that could become a future project. I think we’ll use them again either on our own or at a later get-together.
Yes, yes, I know, I know. I’m the last person who needs to add another idea to her project list. The important thing to remember here is I was writing, and any little bit of writing will eventually lead me back to my real projects. Right? Right.
Stay tuned for posts of the four scenes/stories generated by the Writer’s Blocks!