A to Z Story: jumpstart your brain

My youngest sister is a newly inspired, aspiring writer–kinda sorta.  She tried NaNo with me two years back and got a few thousand words into her gritty, noir, Gummy Bear mystery.  Last year technology kept her from participating.

However, she has a great sense of humor, loves fanciful things and wants to get writing again.  Yay her. 

She emailed me last night with a game.  Yay me.

Together, we will write a story from A to Z, passing our sections back and forth to be written as time and inspiration permit.  I hope we exchange passages every day, because the anticipation will kill me if I have to wait any longer than that.  In addition, if we keep to this timeline, we should write our way through the alphabet in one month. 

Jamie began with A, in what I suspect will end up a zombie story.  Ambling through the garden, staring at cauliflower and wondering what brains would taste like was my first clue. 

Broccoli, brains and biting started my B.  I think I pretty much cemented the  idea of a zombified short.

Although it really won’t be that short.  Jamie wrote 176 words and I followed with another 167.  If we average these numbers and multiply by the alphabet, we should end up with roughly 4,500 words by the end of June. 

Not bad for a little fun.

Better yet is the sheer freedom to create off the cuff.  I’ll use my letters to limber up my brain before digging into my real writing.  I think the creative juices will be helpful. 

Wonder what they taste like…?

My DD and I used to pass our time in the car by adding one sentence at a time to our stories.  I’ve seen bloggers attempt paragraph exchanges.  Great stuff comes out of silliness.  Like colonies of creatures living in belly buttons.  Or cauliflower munching pre-zombie zombies.  Like tweens just before puberty strikes!

If you want to join the fun, grab a partner and keep us posted on how it goes.  I’ll create a sidebar thingy to keep you updated on our progress.  Until then, you can answer some questions and let the rest of us know how you limber up your brain when your creativity crashes.

Do you participate in writing games to jumpstart your juices?  Have you played a similar game that Jamie and I are doing?  If so, how did it turn out?  What other prompts or dares have you taken to get in the groove and challenge yourself as a writer?

Inquiring minds want to know.  Especially before they get eaten…

16 responses to “A to Z Story: jumpstart your brain

  1. Hah, I may steal this idea. Sounds like fun 🙂 I love fun writing warm-ups. Or at least that’s what I call writing prompts, games, etc., because I always do them before the ‘real’ writing of the day (my WIP).

    The only time I did a story like the one you and your sister are doing, is with my own sister! A friend bought me this writerly notebook (it had a typewriter on the front) for my birthday, and my sister and I saw and immediately started a silly story about a blue unicorn named Sunshine. We are weird.

    • Mia, I don’t think you’re the only weird one in this world. Although, I think writers in general have the corner on eccentricity.

      How did your story turn out? I love unicorns, but wonder how in the word a blue unicorn came to be called Sunshine.

      Steal away~ cat

  2. Oops, that would be ‘my sister and I saw IT’. I should really learn to proofread my comments 😉

  3. I do this with my kids. A few nights ago we invented prayer trees. It’s the tree you would wish for yourself in heaven.

    My son’s is Legos. My daughter’s is Littlest Pet Shop. Mine is chips and salsa. My wife’s has Cokes for leaves.

    Then we added trees for the dogs.

    We’ll tell ad-hoc stories like that, all of us adding a scene, for bedtime or if we’re on a walk. One of them is about a group of Chihuahuas in a hot air balloon trying to reach the moon, but they crash in the ocean and swim to an island inhabited by giant cats.

    It’s all about making your life a good story to tell.

    – Eric

    • Eric, I love your prayer trees. I’m totally with you on the chips and salsa, though mine might have a leaf or two of guac thrown in.

      It sounds like your whole family has a bit of the creative gene. Hope the Chihuahuahs survived the giant cats!

      ~ cat

  4. What fun! I used to tell my son number stories at bath time. He would select a number like 3,423 and I would make up a story for that number. Saying something like “oh that’s a good one”. That was many years ago. You’re game will be a blast.
    Eric, I love the story of the Chihuahuas. I hope they’re okay with those giant cats.

    • Lisa,

      That’s an interesting spin. I’ve never made up a story based on a number before. Though when Eldest still had spelling tests, I would use his spelling words to tell a story. I’d read the word then say a sentence that connected to the previous one.

      A writer’s group I used to belong in years ago also pulled three words out of a hat and we had to use them all for our next writing assignement–whether a short story, a poem or what have you. Fun stuff, tinkering with words.

  5. I’ve done the ABC story idea with my students. I usually do it the last week of school – ideas get really silly and fun. They enjoy it. 🙂

    I don’t have much time for writing as it is, so I rarely (never?) do these kinds of games. They’re fun, but I just have no time 🙂

    • Jemi,

      I would expect nothing less from you. The Teacher of the Universe would certainly provide fun and unique ways to engage her students.

      You might want to be careful about letting people know how great you are. They may try to kidnap you as their own private tutor.

      hugs~ cat

  6. I frequently tell stories to my sons, where I pause and they shout out something to fill in the blank, and I work it into the story. Nothing gets written down, though. Your A-Z idea sounds like a good one. Maybe we’ll try that next time. 🙂

    • Layinda,

      I love this idea. My little boys would think this is the bomb-diggety and reminds me of those long car ride games we played when we were kids.

      Thanks for the wonderful tip.

  7. I love this writing game idea! I’d love to implement it at an SCBWI Workshop sometime.

  8. Are there rules for writing the story from a-z? It seems like a cool idea so I was curious how it works exactly.

    • Elisa,

      Thanks for stopping by and asking. My little sis and I made no rules other than we had to start our new section with the next letter of the alphabet. She started with A, me B and so forth. We have been writing about 275 words on average per section. Pretty simple.

      I suppose it could be sentences, paragraphs or pages as well. We try to leave off our last segment with a mini cliffhanger for the next writer to pick up on. One of those moments where the story could go either way. So far it’s been a blast.

      I hope you find someone to write an A-Z story with. It is definitely a unique experience.

      Take care and I hope to see you around~ cat

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