In my honour (and what an honour!), Paul, who runs the writing group I attend, threw a special play-focused edition. We discussed how play and playful techniques can be used to expand our creative output as writers. From ideas-generation to getting us out of sticky-plot-cul-de-sacs the power of play is to get the mind thinking in different ways and thus to find imaginative solutions to problems that seem hard or impossible to solve when looked at in a clinical way.
Paul had brought along a number of ‘narrative games’, and had created special, pared-down rules for each so that we could have a go at experiencing them without playing the full game.
We split into three groups. The Story Cube team used these cubes-with-pictures to come up with (a somewhat bizarre and random) story; the team playing Gloom sketched out a ghoulish tale of two pairs of twins – one biologically-related to the parents and one adopted; and our group was playing 221B Baker Street.
The concept that Paul had come up with was effectively to reverse-engineer a round of the game. Played normally, you tour the board and find clues that will reveal a murderer, weapon and motive. It’s quite a lot like Cluedo, but with a good helping of story added in. Our task was to identify what would be the most narratively successful order in which to uncover the clues.
It was a great exercise, and one that I’ve needed for a while: crime fiction, and how you carefully reveal facts, has long intrigued me.
Most of all, though, it was a lot of fun. Thanks, Paul!
One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple ― Jack Kerouac
Ease of play: 6/10
Resemblance to play: 6/10
Potential frequency of play: Low