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This flip card game is by Dave Birss. This tool was created to help writers have a better chance of winning the battle and finding something to write about.
How to use the Writing Ideas Tool
The tool is really simple. It gives you a person, an action, a place, and a thing. Some of these suggestions are more fantasy than reality. But the collision of four prompts is designed to nudge your mind – and your narrative – in new directions. Here are a few ways you could use the tool.
To spark an entirely new story
I’ve just been given the prompts of ‘Barista’, ‘Racing’, ‘Public toilet’, and ‘Wallet’. And right away it’s given me the idea for a story about a pair of evil coffee makers who have been trying out laxatives in their lattes. They time how long it takes for their customers to sprint for the toilet. The winner at the end of the week gets the contents of the tip jar. That uses all the cards to create a tale I will title “The Crappuccino”. I’m never a fan of just picking the first idea, so I’d then go again at the same prompts to try and generate a different scenario. I’d then repeat the exercise with more prompts. That would ensure I can choose the story with the most potential from a list of options.
To take a storyline in a new direction
It’s easy to write yourself into a corner and not be able to see an easy way out. When that happens you can use the tool to light up the emergency exit and open up new possibilities. For this, you may find it better to select the most useful cards rather than trying to use all four. You may discover a new character you can add. Or a new scenario you can put your existing character in. Or an action they can take. Use it flexibly with an open mind and see where it takes your story.
An advertising concept generator
In recent years, we’ve been seeing more bizarre TV ads on our screens. Like an office worker who keeps getting beaten up because he looks like a piñata. And a moonwalking pony on the top of a cliff. If you want some help getting to these bizarre scenarios, this tool may just do the job. It will certainly open you up to ideas you wouldn’t normally have.
To come up with product ideas
You can use the four cards to come up with a scenario. Then work out what product would help the character in this situation. This may help you develop an idea for a new product you’ve not previously considered.
To develop an existing product
Use the cards to come up with a scenario again. Now look at how your own product could fit into the situation – or how you could adapt it to do so. This exercise is about helping you see your own familiar product from different perspectives. Cartoon and fantasy scenarios can be just as useful as realistic-sounding ones.
As you can see, there’s no shortage of ways you can use these cards. If you come up with other methods that work for you, let me know and I can add them to the page.