Thursday, August 30, 2012

Got Fun?

Do you ever engage in word play? Or is writing strictly business all the time?

I'm a fan of playing with words - really playing, not just the everyday stuff.


I believe word-ly fun stretches skills. Word games, activities, writing prompts, freewriting, you name it, they engage our mind and offer fresh angles and inspiration.

A few of my favorites...


Bricolage means "odd jobs" in French, and for this activity is interpreted as using what's on hand. Set the timer for 2 minutes (or more or less) and take a common item, such as a marble, bobby pin, paper clip, or raindrop and consider how it could be used to improvise.

Can the bobby pin open a padlock and help someone escape? Would the marble offer entertainment to an ailing child? Might the paper clip be rigged to repair a faulty engine, one that's needed to rescue lost travelers? One raindrop might be the catalyst that ended a drought.

You never know where Bricolage might take you, whether in problem solving or a "fly on the wall" type narrative.

Board games like Taboo and Balderdash

These games require creativity and interaction with others, sure to help you think fast on your feet. Anyone remember Password? Taboo is similar, making you skirt around certain words while making your partner guess the correct one. Balderdash's options offer tale spinning opportunities, just the thing to trigger the imagination.

Hemingway's Challenge

Hemingway was asked to write a six word story. His story?

For sale, baby shoes. Never used. 

How's that for practicing word economy? 

For more fun with words, check out Jean Fischer's recent post at Something to Write Home About.
There's a great assortment of links and ideas sure to suit any writer. Thanks Jean, your timing is impeccable! :)

What are your favorite ways to play with words? Have any Labor Day weekend plans?

Have a great weekend,

Photo credit: Stock Exchange


  1. Love it, love it! Great post Karen. I like to play with words, and I certainly will try the six word story! I remember playing Balderdash, but found my vocabulary too small at times :)

  2. Bricolage - sounds like we get to play MacGyver!
    I have several word games on my iPad. They get my brain to thinking.

  3. Marja,
    Thanks so much! It! can be a stretch, I know, but for me, sometimes just the thing to bring fresh ideas. :)

    I know it, Bricolage always makes me think of MacGvyer! I almost mentioned it, actually. :) Thinking is a good thing.

    Happy weekend,

  4. Have you ever taken your name and tried to find different words made from the letters? If a woman is married she could use her first, middle, maiden, and married surname. You could do it with anyone's name.

  5. I never heard of Bricolagebut it sounds like something I'd find fun.

  6. Oh, my. I love Balderdash and games like that. Both sides of the family have a great sense of humor, which makes those kinds of games fun. I'm grinning just thinking about our gatherings now.

    Lifting my coffee cup to you, my friend. Thank you for what you've done for me. May it come back to you tenfold.


  7. These all sound great! Taboo and Balderdash are favorites around my house. You're so right that they stretch your verbal capacity so much. I know my daughter's teacher likes to use Taboo in language arts sometimes for that reason.

    I am also a big fan of those magnetic poetry sets. Sometimes I'll draw a handful of words and build poems around them. It stretches me to go past my usual favorite word choices.

  8. I love word games. Honestly, I'm not very good. But my daughter is the word king! er...queen:)

  9. Cecelia,
    That's a great idea! I'll have to give that a try. Thanks for sharing. Let me know how you like Bricolage, okay? :)

    I know, so much potential for fun! And thinking. :) Thanks for your sweet words. Right back at you, friend. :)

    It's all good, and fun too! :) Have used Taboo for writing classes as well. I'll have to try those magnetic poetry sets. Thanks for the tip!

    Ink in the Book,
    I bet you are better than you are thinking! Your daughter sounds like a good game partner. :)

    Happy weekend,

  10. I love word games. I typically indulge in crossword puzzles and word search games, (if that counts). :-)

  11. Funny, I've never been much of a game player. My writing relief is often my blog. It's just plain enjoyable. Posts are usually short and sweet and fun to write, nothing like laboring over a novel.

  12. I enjoy Scrabble, word search puzzles, and other word games.

    I'll pop over to see Jean. She's another favorite stop on my blog circuit. :)

  13. Jennifer,
    I don't see why it wouldn't count! Sounds like fun. :)

    You have a point. By writing something different, you are cross training! :)

    All good stuff, and nice ways to boost writing power. Hope you enjoyed Jean's post.

    Happy weekend,

  14. Our family really enjoys the word board games, they can be such a hoot.

  15. Wow, that's a pretty powerful 6-word novel!

  16. Bricolage reminds me of the tv show MacGyver.

    I enjoyed reading the teen 6-word memoirs book.

  17. I've played Balderdash! (I stink at that game) LOL that Hemingway challenge. Brilliant.

  18. Hi, Karen.

    Now I have even more words to play with! Thanks for the link :-)


  19. Indeed a Great post Karen.
    I absolutely loved Hemingway's challenge. :)
    Thanks for the link. I am sure gonna play some.
    You have a good weekend!

  20. Sally,
    I know, we love them too. It's a great way to spend time together!

    I know it! Just makes me wonder what the story behind the story is, you know? Great exercise, too.

    Me too, that's exactly what I thought when I first learned about it!

    My kids are better than I am with Balderdash. We get a lot of laughs out of it!

    So glad to share your link - your post was great! :) Fit in perfectly here too.

    Thank you! Have fun playing with words! :)

    Happy weekend,

  21. I used to play lot of word games earlier. Not anymore. Am tempted to start now.

  22. Yes, I love word games! My current word game addictions are Moxie and 7 Little Word. Both are game apps on my iPad.

    The object of Moxie is to place words on tiles with letters given one at a time, with extra points given if you form one of the special words on the "Moxie List." You can only form words going across the tiles horizontally.

    The object of 7 Little Words is to form words that answer 7 clues, using a jumble of letters.

    Both games are fun and improve my vocabulary. There's an added benefit, Karen--I'm staving off Alzheimer's!

    Fun post. Be well...


  23. I need more time in the day. We played Balderdash when our sons were young. And scramble, loved it. Yes! I need more time to get back to some of these fun games. Great post, Karen.

  24. Rachna,
    Go ahead and play a few! We'll cheer you on. :)

    I'll have to check those two out. Our kids gave my husband and I an iPad for birthdays, which are both in July. :) Thanks for the tip!

    If I come up with a solution to adding more time, I will let you know. I feel the same way! :)

    Thanks and blessings,

  25. Thank you for the word 'Bricolage'and the tips. I loved that line: "One raindrop might be the catalyst that ended a drought."

  26. I love group word games when I have people to play with, but usually I engage in crosswords and such. I do like to play with words in my blog posts and in comments.

    Tossing It Out

  27. I used to play Scrabble all the time and soon I might get to do it with my mother-in-law when I live near her. It is good for the brain!

  28. Joy,
    You are welcome! Hope you get a chance to use Bricolage sometime. The raindrop thing, it just sounded good. :) Glad you liked it!

    I know, they can be a lot of fun! You're right, blogging does help us play!

    Hope when you get settled you have a chance to play! Good brain exercise, like you said!


  29. For me it has to be Scrabble! Love it, love it, love it! I've had a dream to magnetise an old scrabble set ( you know the wooden kind) and stick it to the fridge. We've had plastic letters there before and the kids enjoyed leaving messages (insults) for one another... but I like the idea of the old fashioned tiles. Thanks for the inspiration. I might have a project on my hands for this week.

    Dotti ;)


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