Pick-tionary

by Corrie Ann Gray
(Los Angeles, CA)

Dictionaries are wonderful companions. Perusing the pages opens up a world of entertainment and inspiration. I grab one, take it somewhere I can allow my creative energy to bloom (e.g., along the water's edge, the bathtub, sipping coffee on a patio, etc.). Once settled in, I open the book to a random page and with closed eyes, move my finger across the pages. The word it stops on is written down. I do this at least three, sometimes up to ten more times. The chosen words are then allowed to dance and play for a while. This might include doodling or stringing some of them together to create new words (that's how I got "pick-tionary").

Now here's the clincher, and where some serious inspiration can take hold. Ask the question "what if?" Sure, sounds pretty boring and plain, but believe me, trickles of stories, ideas and downright amazing insights can be had.

I did this exercise a moment ago - the words are: Cuba, Hellenic, endoplasm, safeguard, and ink.

Now, I'd ask the question: What if there was an archeologist vacationing in Cuba? And what if she was scuba diving and found a mysterious document sealed inside an airtight compartment? What if she thought, based on the document's ink, it could be from the Hellenic period? How did it get to the bottom of the sea in Cuba? What if she tried to safeguard the safety of the document so that it couldn't get into the hands of someone who didn't know it's true value? What if protecting the document put her and her family back in the States in harms way? What if she was able to secretly get the document out of Cuba and have her scientist friend, the anthro-biologist, investigate it further and find ancient endoplasm, putting it in the Hellenic period AND supporting evidence that it is a lost document of ancient Troy?!

Cool huh? I did that in less than 7 minutes. I've got some serious inspiration for one heck of a story, if I do say so myself.

Give it a try - at the very least you'll learn new words on your road to inspiration.

Comments for Pick-tionary

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Jan 10, 2016
Very creative NEW
by: Denise

Love your idea. I am definitely going to buy a dictionary. I would normally say I found this site by luck, but I believe I was led here. Awesome site. I love writing...so far I've written several poems (thinking of publishing a compilation soon), I started a few books but haven't completed any yet. Finding this side has given me new zeal to continue on my journey of becoming the greatest writer ever. Thanks to the creators of this site and thanks to the participants. Great insights...keep up the good work.

Jan 10, 2016
Very creative NEW
by: Denise

Love your idea. I am definitely going to buy a dictionary. I would normally say I found this site by luck, but I believe I was led here. Awesome site. I love writing...so far I've written several poems (thinking of publishing a compilation soon), I started a few books but haven't completed any yet. Finding this side has given me new zeal to continue on my journey of becoming the greatest writer ever. Thanks to the creators of this site and thanks to the participants. Great insights...keep up the good work.

Jun 23, 2014
Awesome! NEW
by: Emily

That sounds like a great way to get rid of writers block! I have got to try that some time!

Jun 23, 2014
Awesome! NEW
by: Emily

That sounds like a great way to get rid of writers block! I have got to try that some time!

Jul 28, 2013
Wow! Amazing! NEW
by: Anonymous

This is such an amazing idea! Your story was so creative! I have a lot to learn from you :)

Jul 01, 2013
Mental Collisions NEW
by: Nerdacus

Very creative idea. Sometimes stories form in my head by basically the same method; just a few random words and/or names bumping around in my head collide and merge into something truly unexpected. I think that this happens more often than might be anticipated, but is usually recognized as inspiration.

Jun 09, 2013
Awesome! NEW
by: Jenni

I just tried this method. I came up with "page", "resurrect", and "dietetics"(study of food as needed for health).
Perfect!
What if a man found an old, dusty book? What if, one night while reading it, his eyes fell upon a page relating to dietetics? What if this man was a renowned scientist? What if, using this dietetics page, he could resurrect the dead?

May 16, 2013
WOW! Unbelievable! NEW
by: Angie

I just run into this page and I'm flabbergasted with the ton of information that you give us FREE! I cannot wait to use.

May 06, 2013
Extremely creative!! NEW
by: Anonymous

I loved this innovative idea of yours and i'll surely give it a try soon! Thanks! :)

Apr 25, 2013
Very Creative! NEW
by: Carolyn

What a creative way to not only increase your understanding of the meaning of words and how to use them, but also to get creative juices flowing and to think outside the box! Love it!! Thanks!

Apr 24, 2013
Pretty good job NEW
by: Michelle

Very creative and I love the format of all questions.
Well done. M

Dec 07, 2012
A great way to be inspired NEW
by: Tanya

I would be definitely trying this soon. This is as cool as it sounds. Really happy that I stumbled across the website & fount your post ! :)

Nov 27, 2012
Great!! NEW
by: Anonymous

I'm so glad I read this...I have a hard time trying to get ideas and when I do they just aren't as good..but this is a great way of getting inspiration for a good story!
Thanks again for writing this!

Sep 26, 2012
Wow NEW
by: Anonymous

WOW Will certainly keep it mind

Sep 26, 2012
Wow NEW
by: Anonymous

WOW Will certainly keep it mind

Sep 13, 2012
a very easy idea NEW
by: harsh

This idea is worth something (atleast in free time) so whoever's reading this page give it a try.

Jul 15, 2012
Amazing. NEW
by: Anonymous

That was really amazing.

Apr 26, 2012
Thank you NEW
by: Corrie Ann

Thanks for the lovely comment. Sometimes a good kick in the pants will get the writing flowing. And a few "what ifs" thrown in for good measure.

Apr 26, 2012
Thank you NEW
by: Anonymous

Thanks for the lovely comment. Sometimes a good kick in the pants will get the writing flowing. And a few "what ifs" thrown in for good measure.

Apr 22, 2012
Thanks!! :D NEW
by: Anonymous

I've been really keen to start writing my own story for a while and this sounds like it can give me that little kick I need to actually get started. Its always easier when you have something definite to work with. Really helpful and great writing! :)

Nov 06, 2011
Thanks Anonymous 10/28/11
by: Corrie Ann

Thanks for your comment! I'm glad you liked the entry. Give the exercise a try and see where it takes you. Happy writing!

Oct 28, 2011
AWESOMENESS
by: Anonymous

you write awesomely, seriously

Aug 08, 2011
Pick of the Litter
by: bunnyphonic

Brilliant! Thank you for such an inspirational entry.

Jun 26, 2011
To Anonymous Writer 6-12-2011
by: Corrie Ann

I'm so happy to hear that the prompt helped you. There is nothing better to hear than a writer is writing. Write on!

Jun 12, 2011
Thanks!!!!!
by: Anonymous writer!!!

Thank you so much this has really helped me with my story , I,m writing now.

May 05, 2011
GOOD IDEA
by: sophia

love it!
a little goes a long way
thanx

Apr 13, 2011
Thanks
by: Corrie Ann

Thanks to everyone who has made a comment here. I do hope this prompt provides some inspiration. Happy Writing!

Apr 12, 2011
Thanks!!
by: Anonymous

Thanks for the amazing Idea!! WIll be sure to try that out and if it does, thank you tons and tons to help me find more inspiration for my own stories!!

Mar 29, 2011
That's cool...
by: Jazmine

I really like that idea. im always looking for things to help me get started on a story. thanks for the idea!

Feb 17, 2011
GOOD
by: Anonymous

THAT'S VERY INTERESTING I REALLY LOVE THE PART THAT THIS METHOD LEADS YOU TO TONS AND TONS OF QUESTIONS.

Nov 30, 2010
Thank you
by: Chel

That is a great idea and I am going to try it thank you for the inspiration

May 26, 2010
Quite Inspirational
by: Nancy W

Isn't it true that sometimes the most creative ideas come from the most familiar surroundings? We all have dictionaries and it is seldom that I look up a word that I don't find myself meandering to words close to it. I've used this method to increase my vocabulary but now, thanks to you, I can have an entirely new relationship with my Ol' Webster!

May 23, 2010
Pick-a-Pick-a-Word!
by: Cait

I am in awe of your Self.

May 21, 2010
To Learn From, Thanks
by: Anonymous

I will have to try that. You are an amazing and gifted writer.

May 06, 2010
Very cool
by: Jeri

I love this idea. I'm going to give it a try during my next writing session. I'm not sure how much success I'll have compared to your example above, but it's food for thought.

May 06, 2010
What a story!
by: Anonymous

That's incredible how you have turned five randomly chosen words into an exciting story plot. I'm fascinated! I hope you'll write the story. And I will remember your "pick-tionary" idea-generating technique.

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