Monday, August 10, 2009

Writing Exercises That Aren't

I played a great game on Saturday night. If you like Edward Gorey, or Edgar Allen Poe, you'll love this game.

It's called Gloom and the point of the game is to kill off all the members of your family (each player gets 5 family members) with the most total "pathos" points.
The dastardly means to do away with your miserable family are hilarious, but the best part of the game is that the rules encourage you to make up a story for the disasters that befall each character on the way to the grave. By the end of the game you've got yourself a short comic, horror tale on your hands.

I had so much fun with this game, which had the unexpected bonus of making me flex writerly muscles, that I began to wonder:

What types of activities tap into our writer identities but aren't actually writing?

Any favorites you'd like to share?


  1. Goodness, you make me have to think with that question! This will sound odd, perhaps, but getting a massage. I have found the relaxing but awake state causes my mind to come up with lots of solutions to my stories or new ideas.
    I love the sound of that boardgame since you reference two of my favs--Gorey and Poe. *skulking off to find Gloom*

  2. Ooh, I'm going to have to get my hands on that game...sounds fun!

    As for activities that tap into writing without being writing? Hm. The obvious answer would be my painting, but...well, that's just *too* obvious.

    I think, for me, one of my regular activities that helps me with my writing is canoeing. It's quiet and pretty, which helps me relax, but it's just that kind of steady, rhytmic sort of thing that gets my creative juices flowing. It's easy to imagine that the river is a separate world, and that just opens up my imagination in all sorts of crazy ways.

    Great post! :D

  3. Thanks for the great responses, Tricia and Jenna. I'm on the same wavelength - activities that free my mind tend to get me writing; for me it's yoga and long road trips.

  4. being alone....first and upmost time alone is a treasure and if it's on a body of water, all the better.

    The other night I got home at dusk to a note on the counter advising me to join the rest of the family at my brother's down the road for a late family birthday dinner. I thought about it. My hubcap would obviously be engaged for at least an hour or two. I let the dog out. There was a thunderstorm brewing to the south. I put on comfy clothes and knew I wasn’t going. I wasn’t even hungry. I opened a brew and gathered a few pages of my novel and a pencil and went out on the porch. Lightning streaked across the sky in an elaborate labyrinth and the wind rustled the corn at the edge of the yard. I wasn’t going anywhere.

    The game sounds fun. My favorite game is dictionary.


    Driving, grocery shopping, gaming of all kinds, just everything.

    AND ummmmm.... my two favorite all time artists Poe and Gorey. Are you my long lost best friend?

  6. Suzanne - Obviously :P

    Do you know about the Edgar Allen Poe room at the Sylvia Beach Inn in Newport, Oregon? I stayed there a few years ago. It's fantastic.