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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 violated.

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 awesome.

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.

I 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.

I 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).

That's 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.

That's 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 awesome.

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.

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