Motivation and Spice

I found my old recipe card in a book under my chair.  It’s a card that I refer to sometimes when I need to color outside of the lines.

Take some card stock or paper and list the following motivations.  Add any others that come to mind.

  • Vengeance
  • Catastrophe
  • Love / Hate
  • Chase
  • Grief / Loss
  • Rebellion
  • Survival / Deliverance / Escape
  • Discovery / Quest
  • Betrayal
  • Persecution
  • Rivalry
  • Ambition
  • Sacrifice
  • Metamorphosis / Maturation

Now, rip the paper up into strips with one entry on each strip and plop them into a hat.  The next step is to create a set of “Spice” ideas.  Add new spice ingredients as you think of them.

  • Deception
  • Criminal Activity
  • Profit / Loss
  • Un-natural or unwelcome affection
  • Making amends
  • Suspicion
  • Conspiracy
  • Suicide
  • Honor / Dishonor
  • Searching
  • Lost / Found

Again, rip the paper up into strips and put these spices into a different hat.

Now what? Well, of course you guessed it.  Now draw one plot element and one spice element from each hat.  Then spend ten minutes pondering how to mash the elements together into a story, and write down a bare bones plot outline.

Yeah, it might not be what you needed.  But I often find randomness to be a great creativity boost.  Just what would a Chase story have in common with Making amends?  I don’t know, so you’ll have to tell me.

I have a 3×5 card with the above motivations on one side and spices on the reverse.  It keeps me guessing about what the possibilities are out there. And as a writer, it’s all about possibilities, isn’t it?

Let me know if it helps you out!

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