Last term, members of The Writer’s Club each received a set of ‘Random Writes’ as their Easter gift. Cute huh? But this little box of random words is so much more than cute! It’s pure writing inspiration. I’m not sure exactly where I first came upon this idea but I have been using it for a while now. The only real rule with this writing game is to keep writing – no matter what!
Guidelines For Playing
Random Writes is designed to develop writing fluency and kickstart a writer’s creativity. There are no right or wrong answers. Simply write the first thing that comes into your head.
Don”t lift your head to gaze around and think. Just try to keep writing.
Try not to lift your pen from your paper. Just keep writing.
And here’s one I heard from Adam Wallace at the last Writer’s Masterclass’. He said, “If you can’t think of anything to write, just write ‘I’m stuck’ until an idea comes to you.” In other words, keep writing.
How to Play
Firstly, get yourself a timer. I use my iphone. Creating a time limit really helps children to focus their attention on the task. I usually start with three minutes and then increase the time limit slowly as we go.
Here are 5 tried and tested activities inspired by Random Writes.
- Randomly choose a word (or ask a class member to pick one). Set the timer and start writing. Repeat this activity at least once so the group have a chance to relax into it.
- Choose a random word. Set your timer and start writing. When the timer goes off, stop and ask your group to read what they have written. Ask them to highlight their favourite sentence. They then write that sentence on a Post It Note and pass it to someone else in the group or alternatively collect the Post It Notes and share them out amongst the group. Set the timer again but this time, use the sentence on the Post It Note to create a story hook (an interesting start to a piece of writing that makes us want to read further).
- Choose five words from the box but do not share them yet. Explain to the group that they are going to write five sentences – one for each one. Read out the first word and ask children to use that word in a sentence. Read out the next word. The trick is to use the second word in the next sentence in such a way that the two sentences flow. Repeat with the remaining words until you have five linking sentences. Did the sentences make sense? What sorts of wacky combinations came up? Is there anything there that gives you an idea for a story or piece of writing?
- Choose a random word from the box. Ask children to write it on the top of their page. Now write five or even ten facts or ideas related to the chosen word. They can be funny, serious, heartfelt…Viola! You have yourself the beginnings of a very cool poem! See how Steven Herricks then uses this concept to build a Refrain Poem.
- Choose a random word and place it in the centre of a Mind Map. Set the timer for five minutes to allow enough time to explore ideas. Now use your five minutes to brainstorm all the possible writing ideas that could spring from this one word. When the timer goes off, circle the idea you like best and start writing.
One member came back to The Writers Club after the break with a story that she had written using nearly all the words in the box so the possibilities for this simple activity are only limited by your imagination. If you woud like a copy of our list of random words (complete with blanks to create your own), email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy random writing!