Fun & games at the writer’s block party


You can’t have a good party, even one with a negative cast, without some games. And here are a few that might unblock the block. And if they seem a tad childish, who cares? So much writer’s block is down to that domineering, sneery, superior, judgemental inner critic. Time to banish the rotten killjoy and play.


It’s in the cards…

This first game takes quite a bit of preparation, but this in itself will help with the loosening up process. Since you need lots of paper cut into small pieces, it is a good thing to do with several similarly afflicted friends. You are aiming for something credit card size. Three different colours might make it more interesting. How many ‘cards’ you have is up to you, but the more you have, the more possibilities you create.

Divide the cards into three equal piles.  These will be your 3 main story ingredients: protagonist, place, artefact. Work through each pile, writing down one possible protagonist on each of the protagonist cards, then the same for the ‘place’ and ‘artefact’ piles. DO NOT think about these. Write down first thoughts.

My first thought protagonists are: Captain Cook, Death, a leopard, Miss Marple, a hoover salesman. Places could be: ice cream parlour, the morgue, planet Europa, the subway, the Gobi desert. And  artefacts: a Bronze Age sword, a hat stand, thimble, memory stick, goldfish bowl…

Shuffle the cards in their individual piles and place face down. Every player deals themselves a card from each pile, and weaves the three prompts into a story. The dafter the better. This is all about letting go.


Story-time ~ old lamps for new…

Everyone has a favourite fairy story, but how about turning it on its head. And inside out. Or back to front. Why not re-tell Cinderella from the point of view of one of the mice who gets turned into a fine white horse so he/she may help pull the heroine’s coach to the ball. How does the mouse feel about this transformation. Is it a grave disappointment to return to mousedom at midnight?  Or what about Aladdin’s genie? How does he feel about all the conjuring, and being ordered about by a mere youth? Perhaps he’s a female genie who colludes with the wicked magician to retrieve the lamp…Think laterally.


Out of the hat…

Making funny hats is an excellent party activity. You’ll need lots of disparate makings: card, sellotape, coloured pens, scrap fabric, glitter…Create from anything to hand – viking helm, coronet, turban, veil or fascinator. When finished, put it on, or swap it for someone else’s, and then conjure the hat’s owner. Who are you? Where you off to in that hat?


Have Fun!


copyright 2014 Tish Farrell


Writer’s Block Party

10 thoughts on “Fun & games at the writer’s block party

  1. I generally seem to cope all right with the dreaded WB.
    The thing that ( for me) mostly dampens ideas and creative thought is outside pressure from other areas of life. ‘Eeek. We didn’t pay the milkman this week? Now what am I going to put on my Cornflakes!’
    or ‘The Mother-in-Law is coming for a visit?’ – ‘But that’s twice since we’ve been married!”

    Anyhow, to fill in those blank spaces or sort out plot problems I usually find an hour on the road jogging, a spell digging the garden, playing with the dogs or even washing dishes or something equally mundane – even proper work! – clears the air and allows all the new stuff to flood in.
    But I might try sitting at the Laptop wearing a Funny Hat. My lot think I am nuts already and I can always blame you if I get squiffy looks.
    ‘Wot funny hat? No, I am not playing silly b******. This is proper pro-fesh- nal advice, this is. Courtesy of Tish.’


    1. Yay, Ark, surely you have a pharaonic titfer tucked away in the old sarcophagus. Who knows what notions it might spring.

      But I agree too about letting the brain settle while doing something physical or routine. The games are really for when you can’t get even first thoughts off the block (pardon pun). I’m guessing you don’t suffer from that condition.

  2. These are fantastic games…..The first one I could adapt to visual art….and the hat making is one of my favourite things to do….and I love wearing hats. Great post…thank you. Janet:)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.