When I play with the Deal a Story Brain-Storming Card Game by Sue Viders, I end up with a wide variety of emotions. Today, the first hand I drew made me literally laugh out loud! Another one made me totally puzzled. Another one had me intrigued. I think the reactions and feelings are as endless as the possible stories that can come out of using this game, or as we refer to it, this writer’s tool. (Here is a sample random draw:)
The idea is to pick one of sixteen cards in each group: Hero, Heroine, Villain, Plot, and Genre; and then pick three Villain cards, one for each of the three main characters. There is no rule that says you can’t draw another card to replace one that just doesn’t resonate with you, or draw a whole new hand! The whole idea is to ENJOY the process, go wild with ideas, and see what potential can be drawn out of your wonderfully creative mind.
Individuals can use this as a tool to enrich their writing, especially if they experience writer’s block and want some ideas, as off-the-wall as they may be, to lead them to where their stories are going to go next. Recently I saw a movie that was so full of surprises that I marveled at the writing. I was totally captivated, and the story stayed with me for days. Other stories are predictable, and those can actually be reassuring at times. But it is the surprising stories that impress me the most, and I think using Deal a Story can really be a tool to spin one into writing in a direction that could surprise even the one writing the story!
Deal a Story has such wide applications beyond individual use: writing groups, writing classes, writing workshops, writing conferences, improvisational groups, screenwriters gatherings, comedy writers (individually or in groups)… the list is endless.
It is mainly a tool for fiction writers, but Deal a Story could even really help people as they are writing their memoirs. They might have memories triggered about people, places, or events in their lives that they had neglected to include but could enhance the interest of their life stories immensely.
When I think about the villain card and imagine writing my memoir, my first thought is of a recurring nightmare I had as a child that caused me to always want to sleep facing the door so I would see him coming in to get me. Had I not thought about the concept of having villains in my life, would that memory have surfaced? I don’t know. But just in the act of writing this blog entry, I am realizing that villains can be real or imaginary. And whether writing fiction or a memoir, there are going to be multiple characters. Even Tom Hanks on a deserted island had Wilson, his basketball, a “character” he talked to and grieved at his loss!
What I do know is that this deck of cards is very stimulating… and FUN! I had a writing coach years ago tell me that not only is writing to be fun, but to be a good writer, one has to ENJOY the rewrites. When stories are lacking something, Deal a Story can certainly help writers get ideas to add some juice to their stories in their rewrites. Just writing about this game and the places it took me in my mind has been FUN.