Pens Meeting Report 19 September 2017!

A very different meeting this time, but none the less exciting and stimulating for the brain.

With great thanks to our very own Mike, who had expended much effort in the preparation of the event, we were enthralled by several challenges to aid our creativity.

Dice ManThe first part of Mike’s presentation was an insight into the use of ‘dice’ in decision-making and it is certainly worth looking up. Some people have used this decision-making method for the many things of life, simple day-to-day matters; even if they are sometimes extreme. Also for fiction writing things such as story lines and character development; especially when that big blank wall of writer’s block is starting to show its self. An interesting place to read more about this is here: ‘The Dice Man’thinking

The next part of the afternoon was based on Probability and Decision Making, both of which are often a great part of good creative fiction writing. The exercises are reproduced below for anyone to have a go at; the idea being that, if you can think about these things in your own life, you can make similar decisions and assumptions for characters and situations that you create in your writing. Anyone can do them, if only for fun!


Activity 1:
What is the most important decision that you have ever made?
Use the following questions to make your notes:

  • How old were you at the time?
  • What options did you consider?
  • What were the likely outcomes for each option?
  • Who else was involved?
  • How did you make your choice?
  • How certain did you feel that you had made the correct choice?
  • In retrospect, would you have made same the same again?

Activity 2:
How good is your appreciation of Uncertainty? Rank these events in order of probability. First the most likely, last, the least likely:

  • Winning the UK lottery jackpot
  • Becoming Prime Minister
  • Fighting in a war
  • Getting away with murder
  • Being the victim of murder
  • Breaking a world athletics record
  • Being struck by lightning
  • Going to prison
  • Winning the Nobel Prize
  • Making a hit record
  • Getting married

Activity 3:
This is a terrific way of creating the outline for characters in your writing if you get stuck for people; you will need a pair of dice for this. We did this and were then asked to write something about the characters we had built from it.

Use the dice to generate two characters following the steps below:

  • Gender –  Male (1,3,5)   Female (2.4.6)
    throw both dice and use one number for each character
  • Age – Throw both dice and put the numbers together for each character
    e.g. 3 & 4 can be 34 or 43,   1 & 6 can be 16 or 61
  • Marital status – Single (1)   Married (2,3,4)    Separated (5)    Divorced (6)
    throw one dice for each character
  • Body type – Slim (1)   Average (2,3,4)   Plump (5,6)
    throw one dice for each character
  • Conflict area or story subject – Romance (1,2)   Money (3)   Work (4)   Illness (5) Holidays (6)
    throw one dice for each character

Other ways of getting help with writing and other matters can be using dice and card games such as Story dice, Tarot cards, Games dice or maybe Spin the Bottle (not the kissing game) for choosing objects in your home or a set of circumstances written down and placed in a circle; e.g. the murderer used a Plant Pot, Stature of Mozart or a telephone cable, to dispatch his victim.

story-dice.jpg     tarot card           games dice

You can use any of these methods for all sorts of fictional characters or story lines if you are at a loss for someone or something.  Good Luck, it’s fun!

The group goes from strength to strength with a wide variety of writing related elements plus lots of sharing of members wonderful work where there is help, support and constructive criticism if needed. See the meeting schedule for exciting future plans.


Answers to Activity 2:
1   Getting married
2   Making a hit record
3   Being struck by lightning
4   Fighting in a war
5   Going to prison
6   Being the victim of murder
7   Getting away with Murder
8   Breaking a world athletics record
9   Winning the Nobel Prize
10  Becoming Prime Minister
11  Winning the UK lottery jackpot

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About David Rollason

I am a writer, creative, inventive, observant, but the results are for you the reader to decide. There are things in my head constantly that I need to get out and into a readable form and this for now is my preferred medium. I am a simple being with complex workings. I am a complex being with simple logic. I am really just..... me.
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