Years ago, I made up a word game with a writer friend of mine. The goal wasn’t to come up with obscure words, know how to spell tough ones, or even to use a big word in a sentence. The goal was simply to incorporate interesting words into a story. It started at a Japanese restaurant. My friend and I were sitting there, looking at the menu, and noticed many strange and interesting items. After struggling with several on the list, we finally settled on one that we thought was particularly amusing and would be great to incorporate into a story somehow: monkfish.
We kept brainstorming and before long had a list of other items we thought needed to be incorporated in the monkfish’s adventure. Trowel was one. Badger was another. I’m pretty sure desert was on the list. Before long, we had a whole ridiculous story laid out about a trowel-wielding monkfish in a desert, who makes friends (or gets eaten) by a talking badger. Or perhaps it was a trowel wielding-badger who gets eaten by a giant, land-dwelling monkfish…
The details aren’t important. What is important is that we let our imaginations and love of writing (loosely applied in this context) run wild. We visualized and pretended, and had a great time with it. I distinctly remember waving a piece of sushi in front of my friend and calling it a monkfish, which she then summarily refused to eat.
Now years later, the brain-children from that silly little game lives on. In my book, Bobby Ether and the Jade Academy, you will find several references to trowels, as well as one very ornery badger, who can’t seem to stay out of the limelight. I have yet to work the word “monkfish” into a book but have no doubt that, one day when the right story comes along, the final member of my trowel-wielding monkfish/badger family will have a home.
PS – a few months ago, my friend and I added “lovely” and “sword” to the growing lexicon of our word game. I encourage you all to experiment with your own word games to see what kind of fun, fascinating, and bizarre stories you can come up with.