According to a quick Google search, imagination is defined as the ability or action of forming new ideas, images, or concepts of external objects not present to the senses. It’s that part of your brain that gets creative. It’s taking those wild thoughts and seeing where they go down the rabbit hole. It’s forming an image in your mind when you read a book or hear someone tell a story verbally. Sometimes it’s even problem solving.
And when your imagination isn’t firing, it’s sometimes hard to get it going again. Call it Writer’s Block, stress, creative exhaustion, or just being stuck… Whatever you name it, it happens to everybody at some point.
So how do you get past it? Prayer? Animal sacrifice? Spells? Voodoo?
Let’s try something simpler first. Randomness. It’s a writer’s best friend sometimes.
Go to your favorite browser and use your favorite search engine to look for “Random Word Generator.” Try out a couple and see what you like best. This one works pretty well (from Text Fixer).
Use your new tool to generate a list of five or six words to start. I’ll go first:
Now let your mind ponder those words for a minute and give it some context. Perhaps you need a plot for your upcoming adventure session. It takes place in a traditional fantasy world with dwarves, elves, magic, and dragons.
My brain spits out this bizarreness: “The crowd audibly gasps as they see a man in black use a couple of shiny disks to kill the priest known only as Bertio the Disbeliever. The first one slices his head clean off as it flies through the air, embedding in the church wall behind him. The second embeds itself in his chest even as he falls to the ground. A dull roar of yelling and screaming grows and grows as the people realize what they’ve just seen, but the killer simply walks free in the madness that follows…”
I couldn’t figure out how to get “painless” in there, but the other four words are represented.
What did you come up with? Leave a comment below and share your writing!
This is obviously just one method of kicking the writer’s block out of your head. With a bit more guidance or context, this is essentially how many of the Moebius Adventures products work. Roll some dice on a few tables, gather your inputs, and let your imagination run wild.
Let Your Senses Do the Talking
My other way to get past a block is to try and describe a scene or item from the perspective of a particular sensory input.
For instance, if I was to describe a sword with the sense of touch, I might end up with: “Even when laying flat on the ground, somehow the sword never stops moving. Place your hand on the flat of the blade or on the pommel, it makes no difference. The slightest tremor can be felt at all times. It has the strange benefit of staying clean, shaking away dust, dirt, and even viscera so it remains shiny and ready for battle.”
But if I describe a sword in terms of smell, I would end up with something completely different.
“A strange, nutty odor permeates the room as you walk in. The floor is stained with blood from a battle years ago. Only bones remain of the combatants, strewn about where they fell, many with the weapons that failed to save their lives still in their skeletal hands. But as you move through the room, one odor replaces the almost pleasant smell of dried blood. Active decay with a touch of brimstone. This one gets stronger as you find your way to the throne, almost making you gag with each step closer. Across the lap of a corpse lay a black blade that exudes pure evil… and when you glance up, the piercing blue gaze of the dead man catches you off guard.”
You can find another example of this technique in an article from a couple of years ago where I used it to describe buildings.
I also recommend mind maps (you can see an example of how that worked for another article here about making your monsters “more monstrous”), outlines (Paladin Studios has some great world-building outlines here), start at the end, middle, or the beginning of an idea and work to the other end… And you can always search for other writing techniques to help you break the block.
Hope This Helps!
So the next time you are in need of a little help to get past a creative block, use one of these techniques to help knock it out of the way so you can continue with your projects!