mix and match
This project is something I used to get back to whenever I needed ideas for the next chapter of the book I was trying to write (yes, I finished it, and no, I’ll not post it anywhere), but it’s also a great way to figure out what to put into a short story you want to write for practicing purposes - or even for publishing, who knows?
What you’ll need are a bunch of small pieces of paper (preferably not sticky notes as the sticky part will get in the way) and three different boxes. I went with 60 pieces of paper, but you could do more or less, depending on what you’re looking for, however, the number must be dividable by 4.
Divide your pieces of paper into four equal parts and put two of those back together, so that you’ll end up with three piles - one holding half of your papers and the other two one quarter each. You’re now going to write character names on each of the pieces of paper from the bigger pile. Those characters can be your very own ones or characters from TV shows, movies or books, whatever floats your boat. The smaller piles are for locations and topics. As for the locations pile, you’ll write down whatever location comes to your mind - that might be a city, a room, a place, whatever you like. Your locations could include the zoo, a kitchen, Scotland, a park and Vienna, or you could choose entirely different ones.
The topics are the most difficult ones to figure out. It’s always hard to write about a topic you don’t know much about, however, you also might want to challenge yourself to be able to improve your writing. So here’s a list of topics you might or might not want to use for your final pile.
Now that you’ve got all of your words, put each pile into a box. Whenever you feel like writing something, take two character papers, one location and one topic and create something out of it. It might be difficult at times, especially if you end up having Harry Potter and a troll in a kitchen for the topic of love, but that’s the fun side of this project - making something out of it even if it doesn’t seem to work out in the first place. And if you really don’t know what to write, you can always change one of the papers for another one - nobody will know.
If you try this out, make sure to post your combinations down below, and if you’d like to share those, also link to your finished projects! I’d love to read them!