What are Random Word Stories?
Well, nice of you to ask, you useful narrative device, you. A random word story is the story that results from the use of random words.. Yeah, that isn't too clear yet, but that's fine, I'll explain everything.
The idea is that you get some random words from somewhere and you incorporate them into a story of some kind. The words are not decided by you, but the story is all your own stuff - you make it all up, but you have to use the words in it somehow. It's meant to test your creativity, imagination and skill at writing, not to mention that it is genuinely quite a fun and challenging thing to do anyway.
How do I do it?
First, the words. These random words can be obtained in a variety of ways;
- Ask someone. This is my favourite way, personally. You just ask a friend or someone of similar persuasion to give you some random words. They can be any words at all, and the less connected they are the better the set of words.
- Dictionaries. Open the dictionary to a random page, mercilessy poke said page and your word is under wherever your finger lands. Repeat as necessary.
- Internet. Open a particularly wordy page. Good job! Now, press Ctrl and F, type a single letter into the search box, and hold enter for a few seconds. Let go and whichever word is highlighted is your word.
It's best to ask a friend if you can, because if you do it yourself there's a decent chance that you'll skip over words that you think will be difficult to use (don't worry about that, it's human nature), which eliminates the whole point of random word stories.
Now you go and write a short story using the words you have. It doesn't matter how you use them, but it's generally better to use them in an 'honourable' way. That is to say, don't just throw words into the story in useless places, try to make them matter to the story. It's a nice challenge and is fun to do, not to mention that any writing is generally good practice anyway. On top of this, it's a good showcase for just how good you really are.
Ok, you know what it is and how to do it now - hop to it!
Here is an example, from your's truly, entitled Son of God.
A friend gave me the words:
I woke up and immediately felt the slight tinge of pain in my hands.
Nails. I hate nails – big rusty nails being hammered into my hands. If
I wasn't the Son of God I'd be really pissed. As it stands, though, I
am the Son of God, so I was merely mildly irritated. And a little
Jesus, they call me. My name is Frank, but no, that's
not good enough for a son of a god. Jesus. What kind of name is that,
seriously? I didn't particularly like Frank, but it's better than
Jesus. I would've prefer to be called something cool, like Fonzie, or
Chet. Or Terminator. Yeah, I'd call myself Terminator. That'd be
So I got out of my coffin (I had been executed a few
days ago and stuck in a cave, for some reason) and stretched. I then
realised I was naked and magicked myself some pants and a shirt. It's
useful to be the immaculately conceived spawn of a divine entity
sometimes. On the other hand, Dad is still a bastard. He let me die.
Not only did he let me die, he let me die whilst nailed to a cross. I
was on that damn thing for days. Then they got bored of watching, or
needed the cross for another crucifixion or something (I think it was
for a paedophile), so they stabbed me. They actually stabbed me.
made a sink out of the wall (magic, you see) and washed my hands. I
then magicked myself some exfoliating cream. It said it was supposed to
smell like lemons, but, in actuality, smelt much more like a mouse that
had been poked to death with a spatula. Strange how they could get the
scent so wrong, really. On the other hand, it's entirely possible that
there was a mouse involved at some point in the manufacturing process.
It wouldn't be the most unlikely thing that's ever happened. I then
exfoliated the hell out of my hands.
I found a cup that was,
inexplicably, on a shelf on the opposite wall of the cave and filled it
with water. I had no idea, in all my semi-divine knowledge and holy
awesomeness, why they would want to build a shelf in a cave with a dead
guy and put cups on it, but, on the other hand, I don't particularly
understand why they would crucify people instead of just poisoning
them, or stabbing them a bit. It takes all sorts, I don't know.
looked at the water in the cup, swishing it around slightly, and
concentrated. The water turned from clear to red and was as wine (not
blood, that wasn't me, I didn't make any blood-related plagues).
something I contemplated as I drank my wine. Instead of just turning
water into wine, and walking on water (which was really disorientating,
by the way), why couldn't I just...I don't know, play pong with a
couple of tables and king Herod? Or at least split a bloody sea – that
is some shit-hot power. I can create things out of thin air, make
things float (how else was I going to move this massive rock covering
the cave entrance? With the immense power of my beard?). Hell, I could
pull the Earth out of it's orbit, but the guy upstairs says I can't do
any of that! No! I've got to turn liquids into other liquids.
one crazy-cool display of power. Healing lepers? Ok, that was quite
cool, but the stupid 'aaaah' noise I had to make out of the corner of
my mouth when I did it was a little much. Doesn't God know that
understatement is a good thing, sometimes?
Bah. I then proceeded
to turn the remains of my wine into chicken soup, which I ate with a
spoon that I pulled out of the pocket in my robe that hadn't been there
a second before. After I was done eating the soup, and the body I was
dipping into it, I made everything I'd created disappear (except my
clothes, it was damn cold), fixed my hair (divine law said it had to be
wavy, shiny and full-bodied before I could be seen by anybody – they
were pissed when I got a red mohawk in my rebellious, teenage years),
and approached the rock that they'd left blocking the entrance – you know, just
in case I came back to life. Idiots.
Now, I am going to make
this sound more impressive than it was. In actuality, I could just walk
towards the rock and send it into orbit with a thought. I could look at
it funny and it would disintegrate into 2000 frogs, all with the
mission to go and make some creepy, frog-kissing princess very happy some
day. Hell, I could just walk through it. But I have a flair for the
dramatic and impressive, so I try to make things look cooler. More
I looked at the rock intently. If it was female, it'd
feel objectified. I then lifted my hands to chest height and pointed
them like I was about to shoot lightening at the thing (which, despite
being cool, wouldn't move it). I tightened my hands, as if gripping
something, and lifted them slightly. The rock floated upwards, with a
banging noise as it hit the ceiling of the cave. I walked forward, the
rock also moved forward. It was like looking into a mirror, or, it
would be, if I was a massive floating rock.
I moved the rock off
to the side and left the scene before something weird happened. There
were dead people buried all over the place, it'd be creepy if one of
them came to life. Really creepy.
Plus, I had Son of God-things to do.