Monday, February 21, 2011

Story Cubes

We picked these up when we were Christmas shopping, and I admit I kept them for myself as a writing prompt, a warm-up exercise, like running through scales on the piano, and just for fun.  We have used them as an impromptu game, either taking turns with the cubes to keep the story going, or comparing ideas of how we would create a story from the symbols on the cubes. Nine dice with fifty-four images makes for a whole lot of idea possibilities.

A roll of the dice...
I had trouble with the scales, but here is my first attempt.
A man jumped out the open door of the plane and floated to the ground with his parachute. He landed on a lawn near a fountain.  After he unclipped the parachute, he walked to the closed door of the house and listened.  Looking through the keyhole of the lock with one eye, he saw a little boy sleeping on the couch, his hand on the open book, a scale next to him weighted down with chocolates.
Hmmm, that doesn't really work, does it.

Second attempt: The plane listed heavily to the side like a pair of old-fashioned scales with all the weight on one side.  The pilot ejected from his seat like a fountain shooting out water.  As he fell toward the ground, his hand locked on to the catch to open the parachute.  He thought of all the times in class he had slept when his eye should have been studying the open book before him.  The procedures came back to him, though, even now, and he knew the proper steps to take in order to land safely.
There, that at least makes sense.
Next roll...
The clouds drifted across the moon as the storm built up.  The teacher closed the schoolhouse door behind her and looked up at the sky, questioningly.  Quickly, she put the apple and the letter into her bag and smiled as she felt the toy parachute man she had confiscated from Jimmy that day.  She would have to remember to give it back to him tomorrow. She hurried to her car and the rain drops began to fall.  As she turned the car onto the road, the lightning, attracted to the schoolhouse like a magnet, zapped the sky.  One second later the thunder applauded as the storm broke like a scattered handful of dice rolling across a wooden table.

As my husband said, this is like life.  What may seem just a random roll of the dice, with a bunch of jumbled circumstances, really can fall into place and make sense.

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