Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Wild Things

What's the most wild thing you can possibly think of, I'm talking weird and bizarre. Trust me, this is a good exercise. I stumbled upon this quite by accident. Writing professors are forever saying 'put you characters up a tree and then throw rocks at them,' and I think that phrase has been used so much it's become clich├ęd. This is kind of like the same thing from a different angle.

Take something mundane like a year of the tiger stamp which is currently at Canada Post. It's beautiful in oranges and blacks with a gold foil tiger on it. Beautiful. What if it was enchanted? Or what if the tiger cam to life? How would it come to life? Would there be some kind of ritual or spell? Why would it come to life?

Now you have the makings of a story. One must have characters to make it happen. How are they going to react if it comes to life? Will it be a good thing or a bad thing? How will they defeat it? Maybe the stamp represents some oppressor and the main characters are fighting for their rights. Now you have the beginnings of a possibly political commentary.

Now comes to the fun part, building suspense and putting it all together so that it makes sense. Your plot, characters, and story have just evolved out of a stamp. Cool isn't it? Isn't this something like what nursery rhymes originated as... political commentary children learnt as fun senseless rhymes? That is if my memory serves me correctly.


  1. I realize I explained all this rather quickly and it does take more time, but it's a very good exercise to get ones brain to think outside the box :) Enjoy!

  2. This is rather like the poem I just wrote for the Poetry Bus. I asked people to take the name of their local pub and create characters from it. My own poem was inspired by "The Whale and Ale Pub" and evolved into a rollicking sea-shanty. Check it out on Invisible Keepsakes, Leonie.

    That IS a gorgeous stamp!


  3. Cool, I will. I actually just checked out the follow up post and wondered where all the poems were and what the challenge was all about. I'll have another look and see if I can find them and your original post. I'm not much of a poet, but I think I could try to write one for that... it sounds like fun :) Thanks!

    I love the stamp too. I collect the interesting ones Canada Post puts out.