Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Games To Spur Creativity

I have a lot of friends who are authors. Some of them are poets, some of them write nonfiction, and some of them write a variety of fiction.

I'm constantly looking for games to sharpen their creativity or to provide them with prompts.

I may have mentioned Dixit before. The images in the game are extremely evocative, and can easily be used as writing prompts for any type of creative writing.

To be perfectly honest, it's yet another of those games I didn't think I'd like after reading the rules. But the art sold me, and - as mentioned - I think it has a role beyond that of "game."

A few weeks ago, I received Dixit 2. Marie Cardouat continues her excellent work crafting art which contains hundreds of small stories just bubbling below the surface. If you're a writer or a teacher, I heartily recommend it.

And now Repos Productions has a new creative game: Cyrano.

Cyrano is all about writing quatrains - that is, four lines with two rhymes. You can use the ABAB, AABB, or ABBA rhyme schemes. Your group may allow mid-line rhymes and half-rhymes.

But it's another game that I didn't think I'd like until I tried it.

The rules are simple: Each round, you are given two rhyme sounds and a theme. Asmodee's recent contest (which may not be over, yet ... hurry and enter!) used -ICE and -OVE as the rhymes, and "Being a Teenager" as the theme. Everyone writes a quick quatrain.

You get points for using rhyming words that other people don't. So if my wife and I were playing, and both used "Love" in our quatrains, neither of us would score points for that word. But if she rhymed it with "Dove" and I rhymed it with "Glove," we would score points for those words.

Then everyone votes on which poem is best. You get points based on how much you agree with the group (not based on whether your poem was best, which reduces the writing pressure).

I'll admit it: This didn't sound like fun to me. While I have been known to occasionally spit out a poem or two, it isn't something I thought could be fun in a game setting.

I was wrong, and I freely admit it.

Not only that, but this, too, can be used to teach and to sharpen creativity. A lot of really good books on driving creativity tell you to free-write the bad stuff out of your system first so you can focus on the good stuff. The Artist's Way pushes this with early morning freewrites.

I think that Cyrano can be used as this early morning freewrite. Wake up, draw a couple of cards, write a quatrain. Repeat several times until you're ready to focus on your writing.

Teachers can use it by restricting rhyme schemes or meter or both.

All in all, I think you'll like this one if you give it a shot.

Especially if you still need to finish your morning pages.

No comments:

Post a Comment