Remember playing the game “Consequences” at school? Here’s a twist on the Brainwriting tool, inspired by that playground game. I designed it for TV drama producers but it works really well for any kind of imaginative storytellers.
Everyone starts with their own grid of nine boxes on a big piece of paper, but the first row is labelled “Beginning”, the middle row is called “Middle” and the last row is “End”.
Everyone starts silently writing three different beginnings for a character’s story. These could be an accident, a lottery win, a death in the family – what writers call an “inciting incident” or trigger. When you’ve got three, you put your paper in the middle of the table and swap with someone else.
Pick up the new sheet and read someone else’s “Beginnings”. Now write down your ideas for how the character reacts. Finish all three “Middles” and pass the paper back, then pick up another.
Now you’re on the “Ends”. Read someone else’s Beginning and Middle – then work out how this mini story-arc could resolve? When everyone’s finished, get people to share their favourite story arcs with the group.
Horst Geschka invented Brainwriting to help engineers innovate their products. I gave it a twist for a colleague who makes TV soap opera – and guess what, it works well for both.
Happy endings all round!
(Over a hundred more techniques like this one in my new book Be Creative Now!)