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Journaling for Creativity.

Mind training games: Complete the story

This post forms part of a serialisation eventually building into a complete reference on Journaling for Creativity and the writer's notebook. One that will demonstrate how to journal in order to improve creativity and effectiveness of artists, writers or anyone needing to be creative.

Introduction Contents Techniques About Method Games for Creative Development Complete the Story

 

The game

This week I thought I would continue the recent trend of creativity games that can be played with friends. Today’s game is not a journaling game per se, because there is no involvement of your creative journal whilst playing the game.

However, there is nothing to stop you making an entry in your journal afterwards to capture the best bits.

Journaling for Creativity: Mind training games: Complete the story

The game is a story telling game with very simple rules. Yet, despite being simple, these rules automatically build in frustration and social competition; a combination which makes it a very creative and rewarding game when played with like-minded companions.

 

How to play

This game is at its best when played with four or more active players. It is a story telling game where one player starts a story with a few sentences and then chooses the next player to pass the narration over to. Each new player then adds a little more to the ongoing story, before choosing the next player and passing the narration over to them.

It becomes socially interesting when players follow these rules;

1) Once you become the narrator, you must add at least one sentence.

2) You must not ‘hog’ the story.

3) You are not allowed to pass the story back to the person who gave it to you.

4) You are not allowed to pass or sit out a turn.

5) Always try to leave the story in a cliff-hanger situation.

 

What makes this fun is that you cannot keep true to the story developing in your mind. The narration will twist and writhe away, snake-like, from any direction that you might try to impose on it. Which means that you will have to be constantly creative in adapting and expanding upon what the other players are narrating.

More fun can be had by leaving the story with a particularly nasty ‘cliff-hanger’, and then watching the next player attempt to recover the story line. This gives you a wonderfully amusing ability to exact revenge on another player who has ‘destroyed’ your favourite story line or who previously exacted their own reprisal against you.

For example,

“Alice smoothed her gingham frock and started skipping through the carpet of pastel flowers that covered the path, when an enormous chocolate bar monster erupted from the ground…”

(And pass to nemesis).

Not being allowed to pass the story back to the previous player also limits the tendency for ‘duelling’ between players, which would otherwise cause boredom for the other players.

Neat tip: Use your mobile phone to record the narration. The free-flow is so spontaneous that you will never remember everything that was said without recording it.

The game can be modified by lubricating the players’ minds with alcoholic beverages. The result of which, is normally more zany and adult story lines, accompanied with loud laughter.

 

The purpose of the game

Why should you play this game?

Because it is loads of fun. It is true that the game does exercise your creative-mind and gets you considering possibilities (chocolate bar monsters) that you would never ever otherwise consider. But ultimately, the game is just a pure and simple indulgence in unbridled creativity with friends and family.

 

 

 

Can you think of a time when you might play this game; perhaps at a family BBQ or during a car journey? How about using it as an ice-breaker with a new team?

Why not spend a few moments considering who you might like to try this with and then pencil in a proposed date for some fun in your diary.

Photo credit: Camping at Wowo in East Sussex, by Andrew David Newdigate.

"Mind training games: Complete the story" by Andy Shackcloth is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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