Monday, November 21, 2011

Yo, Turkey--Playing with Words

Week of November 20: Grateful for a Few More Writing Ideas
Monday, November 21: Yo, Turkey—Playing with Words

Playing with words can often plant the seed for an idea (or help an existing idea begin to germinate). Nothing tricky here—just take a word or phrase or concept that has popped into your head and play with it as much as you can. Don’t start out with any expectations, just let the word spirits lead you!

Let’s take a perfect word for this week—turkey! Now let’s play with it.

Think of all the turkey idioms you can (and Google turkey idioms to see what you can find). List everything you think of and/or find . . . don’t judge the idiom, accept it. You can decide later if you want to use it or not. Here are my turkey idioms:

·        Going cold turkey
·        Talk turkey
·        Turkey nests (like dust bunnies—“There were turkey nests in every corner.”)
·        A turkey shoot
·        The turkeys are voting for an early Christmas

You can also mash together your word or phrase with other familiar idioms. Such as:
·        Let them eat turkey
·        A turkey on the plate is worth two in the freezer
·        A turkey in every pot
·        Turkey is as turkey does
·        A turkey a day keeps the doctor away

Finding idioms may be enough to move your idea to the next step, but why stop playing now?

Search for words that rhyme with your focus word(s). Again, list everything you find or think of—don’t limit yourself. For instance:

·        Durkee (as in Green Bean Caserole!)
·        Jerky
·        Murky
·        Perky
·        Quirky

Then you can also make up your own rhyme words to fit the situation or need.

·        Berserky
·        Clean and jerky
·        Desk clerky
·        Irky
·        Jerky
·        Lurky
·        Out of worky
·        Smirky

But don’t stop there! Continue to play with words thinking of literary devices such as similes, metaphors, and onomatopoeias. For instance:

·        He waddles like a turkey.
·        She felt like a turkey on her way to Thanksgiving dinner.
·        He ignored her like three-day-old turkey leftovers.

·        You’re a turkey.
·        She was the cranberry sauce to my roasted turkey.
·        He was stuffed like a turkey.

·        Gobble-gobble-gobble.
·        SQAWK!
·        Flap. Flutter. Flap.
·        Scratch-peck. Scratch-peck. Scratch.
·        Gulp!
·        CHOP!
·        Kerplunk!

Ok, turkey . . . I mean, friend, now that you’ve played with the word(s)/phrase you thought of, you’re ready to take your idea to the next level. Use your new discoveries to create a title, write an initial description, or outline your plot. Then save your word play to inspire and impact the manuscript that grows from your idea.


patientdreamer said...

Thankyou for this. Will print it out.

tammi sauer said...

Yay! I love doing this sort of thing in the brainstorming phase of a ms. Especially with those mss that beg for some extra fun word play. :)

Rob Sanders said...

Have fun, turkeys . . . I mean, friends!

Romelle Guittap said...

I used a similar brainstorming technique recently and found it helpful. I'm going to incorporate more of yours too. Thanks again Rob! Enjoy your Thanksgiving.