Writers often get fed up with being asked where they get their inspiration from, but now I have an answer: Rory’s Story Cubes.
It’s an amazingly simple toy that consists of nine dice, each with a set of six images. The game is to roll the dice and then find a way to tell a story using the pictures on the dice. The pictures can be used literally or as metaphors or, well, anything goes. It’s just a toy.
This is the point where I have to admit that writing fiction is an awful lot more like playing than working. Essentially, when I’m writing, I’m just making up stories, just like kids when they’re playing. Of course there’s more to it than that. There’s words and rhythm and themes and imagery, but for me, at the start of it all, there’s the story.
It’s my birthday this week, so I bought myself some of these dice as a present to myself, and they’re great. The range of images is wide enough to produce a broad range of ideas. The pictures are clearly drawn, but cleverly ambiguous enough to lend themselves to several interpretations. As a toy, they’re fun, but they really come into their own as a seed for ideas in that first draft stage.
There will be several sections in my new novel inspired initially by these story cubes. Of course, by the time the process of writing and rewriting and revision is over, they may well be unrecognisable from the original idea, but I leave it as a challenge to the reader to try to spot them!