Monday, May 14, 2012

Story Starters - Board Games

Countdown to rewrite: 18 days

New ideas come from everywhere. I am inspired by anything and everything--and every once in a while, one of those random ideas is actually worth exploring. After all, the greatest stories often have humble, even odd, beginnings.

You may or may not have clicked on the tab at the top of my page that says "Dungeonball." It's something my husband and I have been developing collaboratively for several months, and we are now trying to finalize the mechanics so we can focus more on the design. Mostly, that means we've had to play-test the game... a lot. 

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to play-test the game after finishing the 'reading' portion of our home-based writing group. Three of my friends played as heroes, and I was one of three playing as monsters. During our battle for the Dungeonball, something inside me just clicked.

"Guys," I said, "I just had an awesome idea. What if there was an actual world with this sport?" 

From there, it was idea after idea, molding, shaping, changing, playing... I actually quit playing the game, letting someone else take over for my dragons, while I scribbled down my thoughts on a nearby notebook.

So. From here, I have a Story Starter for the writers out there:

Take a look at your favorite board game. This could be anything from party games to hardcore DnD. You'll probably find it easier to use a game with "characters," but you don't necessarily need them.

Then, find an aspect of the game that you can apply to a story. It's easy to steal a character idea, a little more difficult to steal one of the game's goals, and most difficult to steal one of the game's mechanics, at least for me. 

For instance, look at Monopoly. You could pull out a character who has a compulsive need to buy whatever he sees. You could use the idea that a person or company is taking over an area with their vast wealth, bit by bit. Or, you could imagine that monopolies have been legalized, and trading properties in exchange for a place to stay the night is now common.*

Now go write. Maybe you've got something to throw away, just used for practice... but maybe, just maybe, you've struck a golden idea. The only way to really know is to get out there and write.

-Tsira

*And yes, you're free to use those ideas. :) I'm not so good with economics, so writing a story like that would be ridiculously tough for me.

10 comments:

  1. I like this idea. There are so many board games to choose from, and I've never seen this idea before. Did you finish the story you got the idea for?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I haven't had a chance to work on it yet; I have to have some semblance of order to the stories I write, so I can finish one before working on the next. But I did write out the whole idea in a notebook so that I can remember it when the time comes. :)

      Delete
  2. Ooo, I LOVE games! I've never thought to use them for inspiration. What a fun idea :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hadn't thought of it either until I had this experience. What's your favorite game?

      Delete
  3. I'll have to keep this in mind the next time we get Risk out. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have you ever played Risk Legacy? I think that you could get a great premise for a book with that one... factions of a New Earth, genetically enhanced vs. tech vs. sneaky spies, etc.

      Delete
  4. The inspiration for my the manuscript I'm querying was a video game cover.

    Inspiration is everywhere!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! Sounds kinda like something that happened to me. Which game was it? I'm a big video game geek. ;)

      Delete
  5. Sounds like a really cool idea for a story. I wanna see where it goes! And I want to finish the board game itself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, angel. :) I'm already getting some ideas about the MC and stuff, but I just have to push those out of the way for a little while so I can finish Tsirash.

      Delete