There are folks who will tell you that writing comes naturally to some people, and that there are a few people who have just been blessed with writing prowess. However, just as with any other skill, it’s deliberate practice that helps make good writers.
Writers will often want to challenge themselves by exploring different topics, which is why dozens of websites have become dedicated to providing writers with new topics to write about. Write on Wendy has turned answering writing prompts into a competition with the #5MinuteFiction challenge. But if you’re finding yourself struggling to come up with writing ideas of your own and don’t want to participate in a flash fiction challenge, a quick game of bingo might just help you out.
Bingo is a rather versatile game that lends itself to different topics quite well. Over the past few years, we’ve seen the game used by the U.K.’s Food Standards Agency to promote healthy eating choices with Eatwell Bingo and the Telegraph for promoting New York Fashion Week. Leading supermarket chain Iceland Foods has also joined the lot of companies starting off in the online bingo craze with their launch of Iceland Bingo in 2012, joining the likes of the Daily Mail and the iTV network.
The ease at which bingo is customized makes it a wonderful choice for creating custom writing prompts. First, list down five examples of each of the five elements of a story: the Plot, Characters, Conflict, Theme, and Setting. Use a free bingo card generator to arrange these elements into a custom bingo card, and number each item in each category from 1-5.
When it comes time to start writing a story, take out the card and roll a die, taking note of the corresponding item for the number you roll. Should you roll a six, then you can write about an item of your choice. One you’ve rolled for each element, begin constructing your story, incorporating all the elements you rolled for.
You could also make more complex bingo cards, with specific quotes that need to be used in the story, characters who need to be included, descriptions and locations that need to be present.
Over time, you’ll find that it’s much easier to write about any range of topics after practicing with your fiction spinner bingo game.