Writing Blocked? Bust Through With Bingo!

And now for something completely somewhat different…

From time to time, I’m asked about sponsoring a blog post, but often, I decline. I mean, there has to be a tie-in to writing (or yours truly) to show up here at Cathy C. Hall’s. So I had to smile when I read the artful spin on Bingo and busting through writer’s block. I can’t vouch for the method (or the Bingo), but I kinda think they both look like fun. (Also, it’s got that whole Brit thing going on and you know I’m a sucker for that.)

Here’s guest blogger Emma Smith’s fun post:

Get Over Creative Block with Writing Prompt Bingo

All writers, young and old, experience creative block at one point in their careers. Whether you’re writing for fun or for work, there comes a time when you just have to sit in front of your computer and try to squeeze the ideas out, to no avail. What are we to do when we just can’t think of a new topic or theme to write about? How about playing a game of Writing Prompt Bingo?

Bingo has often lent itself to different causes and themes, allowing yogis to learn new poses with Yoga Bingo, and even helping gymnasts train. The game has seen newfound popularity, and Free Bingo Hunter, a website specializing in documenting various online bingo portals, has found hundreds of different bingo sites with different themes ranging from “Deal or No Deal” to “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”. With a few modifications to the traditional bingo card, we can create a bingo game that can help you power through the worst creative blocks.

The first thing you have to do is begin constructing your card. Pick five of the seven literary elements: Plot, Setting, Atmosphere, Character, Theme, Point of View, Literary Devices. If you need a quick refresher on these, Slideshare presentation does a good job of explaining them.

For this example, we’re choosing the following: Plot, Setting, Character, Theme, and Point of View. Next, write down five examples of each of the literary elements, like so:

• Human vs Human
• Human vs Nature
• Human vs Society
• Human vs Himself
• Coming of Age

• 1950s America
• Vietnam war
• A haunted house
• A rundown factory
• A bedroom

• Teenage couple
• A middle-class family
• A wealthy businessman
• A police officer
• A puppy

• Friendship
• Loyalty
• Faith
• Environmental Awareness
• Grief

Point of View
• A passerby
• An inanimate object
• A close friend
• First person
• Third-person omniscient

Once you have your list, go to a card creation site like Print-Bingo.com to generate your Writing Prompt Bingo card, replacing the letters B-I-N-G-O with the literary elements you chose. Make sure you arrange it so each of the items falls under its corresponding category. Once the card has been generated, number each row from 1-5. You should have something like this:

Bingo cardTo play the game, you just need to roll a die for each literary element. Whatever number you roll, you need to incorporate the corresponding element into your new story. If you roll a six, then you’re free to choose whichever element you want to write with. This game is great, not just for getting over writer’s block, but for challenging your skills as a writer as well.


Now come on, y’all. That’s kinda brilliant, right?

Cathy-on-a-Stick Gets Her Day in the Sun

2009-06-01 15.44.22You might have noticed that I added a header up there for Cathy-on-a-Stick.

She still has her own blog, but honestly, I can barely remember to bring my glasses when I leave for adventures. Remembering Cathy-on-a-Stick is a whole ‘nother matter. And even when I do remember, it seems I’m always busy keeping up with work deadlines. I never have enough time for writing fun over at that pic-on-a-stick’s blog.

But I always find the time to bring Cathy-on-a-Stick to writer’s conferences. And today at the Muffin, I blogged about why.

Yep, she’s one bit of stick-y fun, out there in the writing world. Which is why I share those stories here, and also why she has her own page at Cathy C. Hall’s place. And now…wait for it…

She thinks she’s something on a stick.

A Halloweensie Story (With Apologies to Mr. Poe)

I may be too old for trick-or-treating, but that doesn’t mean a girl can’t have a little boo-rific fun. And as I’m pretty fond of Edgar Allan Poe and poetry and Susanna Leonard Hill’s writing contests, it all came together. In a hundred words or less.




The (Scaredy) Cat


Once upon a midnight spooky, while I roamed in my Suzuki,

Looking for my black cat, lost among the trees.

I thought I heard a mewing, or was it more like booing?

A booing ever softly, whistling through the breeze.

“H-hello?” I asked the dark, the shadows in the park.

When suddenly a cackle sounded in my ear.



And then I caught a peek, of something black—it streaked!

Across the grass, and sprang onto the floor!

I nearly jumped out of my skin, as it settled down right in—

my lap. Sweet dreams, kitty.  But for me, nevermore!


There’s still time for you to jump in and join the Halloween fun! As for me, I think I deserve a Butterfinger. Or six.