Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Unleashing Our Creativity

Several times our creativity gets stuck in  a rut as we work long and hard for several hours in a day,  for months together and sometimes for  years on one WIP. Our thoughts get stilted. They seldom drift from plot, character, conflict and resolution. This leads to battle fatigue. Yes, we do  get tired and the flow of creativity is restricted.

We may call it Writer’s Block or by any other name. I noticed while teaching my students that they were moving along just one track. The group of 18-19 year old girls seldom strayed from the path of love stories. Most were getting stuck in a rut.

To infuse fresh  enthusiasm I introduced them to the Double Trouble Game which I  had come across on my blogging friend Australian Writer Sheryl Gwyther’s blog long time back. Sheryl  generously allowed me to share this creative game  not just with  my students but with everyone. I would like to share the game with everyone. 
 In this game we have to pick two nouns from a list of unlikely 'room-mates' - naming words that do not go together. 

You get the idea? Now imagine the combination of two (Frog and Guitar) and ask yourself What if ? Or you can think of unusual situations  consisting of a frog and a guitar.

Like: What if a frog  loved the guitar? What if the frog lived inside a guitar? Or what if a  frog  liked to play a guitar to serenade his girlfriend? What happens  when the frog is rejected by other frogs  because of his love for guitars?

How will our   Frog  ( my frog is called  Freddy Strings) cope with this rejection from  other frogs? Can he live away from the frog community? What  is he going to do? Would he stop playing the guitar? Would he stop living inside the guitar and move to another place? Short  stories can be built on these unlikely room mates.

My brief to my students was “ Go wild. Have fun. Let nothing hold you back.” And fun they had. I got such unlikely roommates (Cindrella- McDonald, Dog-Rose, Icecream-Sun, Plant-Coke, A popular Actress-Chocolate, Ant-Skateboard ). The stories built around these strange roomies were wild, wacky and weird. But it did let loose their creativity.  

I think this is a wonderful way to create unusual situations  in our manuscripts. We  can take two unlikely room mates ( elements from our WIP) and come up with something unusual. Maybe we can arrive at an unexpected  and unusual plot twist. Who knows  which direction our imagination will lead us to?

What do you think of the Double Trouble Game? It would be great  if  you  share two unlikely room mates with us. What is their unusual problem/situation?  Don’t you think this can be a wonderful source of inspiration not just for picture book writers, but for all of us?

P.S: My unlikely  room mates were the frog and guitar. 


  1. I love it!

    Exercises like this are great ways to jumpstart the creative process and think outside the usual realm of possibilities.


  2. I love it, too! This is such a creative way to start thinking about the writing process!

  3. What a great idea! Thanks so much for sharing it. I'm going to have to give this a try with my students.
    Have a great week,

  4. I love this idea. It's so simple but so imaginative. Thanks once again for a great post, Rachna!

  5. I like this! I can see me working on this tonight as I plot out my new WIP! I think it can really open up avenues of creativity.

  6. Awesome exercise! And the name Freddy Strings for a frog is too funny! Thanks for this, will surely try it out sometime.

  7. What a way to get the brain creating. Nice, Rachna.

  8. This is such a great game!! I'm always struggling for inspiration but this is great :)

  9. This sounds crazy, until you made it brilliant! Your frog and the guitar made me think of a wild picture book, something fresh and new. Thanks for the Double Trouble tip, I'll definitely play the game.

  10. This game is very creative and makes the 'writing juices' flow. And it's FUN
    As always Rachna, thank you.

  11. Fantastic post, and I love the picture you have teamed with it! I think this definitely lifts the writer out of a rut, although you can still make love stories out of these unlikely room-mates (Freddy Strings serenades his lost love, Teresa Toad, with his guitar), or the story of the bee in love with a black and yellow striped pencil. It just makes for more of a challenge! :)

  12. I will definitely have to keep an eye out for this. It is a great way to get the juices flowing.

  13. (I posted anonomously only because I didn't know which to choose fromt he list, sorry!

  14. Rachna,
    You are not only so encouraging but very creative.I just left a blog where a moose was traipsing around a man's backyard--I can picture this the way you have these! Great idea!

  15. Lovely game, will surely play it. Thanks for this Creative Writing Exercise. I am glad I found your blog.

  16. Yes Rachna,
    I think it should be also a way to encourage and inspier to new writers.Nice post.
    Best wishes.

  17. Hi Friends, I just hope all of you will try this game over the weekend. Its really fun and lets loose our creativity. I can vouch for it after seeing my students' assignments.

    Jayne...love the idea of Freddie Strings falling in love with Teresa Toad. Perhaps I will get inspired by my students and write a love story.
    Thankfully none of them penned a love story based on this game. Ah...That was a relief. :)

  18. What a cool idea! Thanks for sharing!

    Btw, to put a video on your blog, just copy the Embed text off of YouTube and paste it right into your blog post! Easy peasy. I just figured it out myself!

    Have a great day!

  19. Hi Rachna and all of your readers
    Glad to know the 'Double Trouble' game has been so useful to you all.
    Here is the link to the blog where I wrote about how to use this story + I've even got a huge list of nouns you can use.
    Enjoy this fabulous process of making a story.
    best wishes
    Sheryl Gwyther (Australian children's writer)