Many moons ago when I was a wee lass and hung out in a chat room with other folks from the Online Writing Workshop, we used to engage in many group writing activities like word racing (the first one to get to 500 wins!) and the picture game. I don’t miss the chat room that much, but I do miss word racing and the picture game.
The latter is really simple. Find a picture, share it with the group, then write something inspired by the picture for 5 to 10 minutes. No stopping or editing or thinking, just whatever comes out. It can be a scene or a snippet of dialogue or description or exposition. Anything the picture makes you write. We then shared our efforts.
The only real problem with the picture game was that eventually we had this tendency to try hard to be brilliant and impress each other. The point wasn’t to be amazing, but just to write and get the creative juices going. Some people did get stories out of it, though.
The game continued after the chat room mostly broke up in the form of an LJ community. But no one has posted in there since 2005, so I’m guessing that’s dead.
Since Hannah pointed out the National Geographic Picture of the Day LJ I’ve had the urge to start up the picture game again. But I don’t want it to be a strictly LJ thing or even a THING thing. Just a bunch of writers who, if they see an awesome picture, play the game and post their results somewhere. I’m thinking that if we all tag the entries “Picture Game” in del.icio.us or Technorati or something we can keep track of new snippets wherever they are posted. (My inclination is to use del.icio.us because it’s easy and lots of people seem to like it. If there’s a better aggregator for such things, let me know). I also plan to post mine to Ficlets and link them from the sidebar on my blog at fluidartist.
The rules for this new version are simple. Again, find a picture that inspires you. NatGeo’s Picture of the Day is awesome, as is the Astronomy Picture of the Day. I’ve found some amazing stuff using StumbleUpon’s picture stumble. And, of course, Flickr has an interesting pictures page. Once you’ve chosen your picture, take a moment to look at it then write for 5 – 10 minutes. Again, write anything that comes to you, don’t stop, don’t think, and don’t try too hard to be awesome. When you’re done, post your writing in the comments of the picture if possible or to your own journal (with a link to the pic). Then tag your entry or comment picture-game in del.icio.us so that other people can find it.