Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fantasy Writing Draft: An Exercise

Folks, it's September, which means football season is almost here!

I've been a fan (fanatic?) for years, but this will be my first year doing fantasy football.

This weekend, ten of us crowded around the apartment with pizza, beer, and Rice Krispie football treats (see recipe here). It was a four hour venture that included an over-sized piece of poster board, Crayola markers, and lots of deliberating. Prior to the event, my boyfriend and I separately worked on research throughout the day - who should we pick, what did we need, etc etc.

This all got me thinking about writing (as most things do). 
Why not host a fantasy writing draft? 

In our football league, everyone needs 1 quarterback, 2 running backs, 2 wide receivers, 1 tight end, 1 defense, and 1 kicker.

How about 1 plot, 1 genre, 1 main character, 2 minor characters, 2 settings, 1 problem, and 1 solution.

Just as my boyfriend and I did, you'll need to do research before the draft to decide which story elements would be most beneficial for you.

Now sit 10 writers in a room together. Set up a poster board. You're probably going to want to choose genre first (in the football draft, you want to take a running back first because the percentage of excellent scoring running backs goes drastically down after the first 5 or 10). Once someone's chosen mystery it's out of the options, no one else can choose it. Next goes YA dystopian. You've got the 8th pick and fantasy, sci-fi, thriller, steampunk, and romance are all taken before your turn. You're up. You're thinking of taking horror, but maybe you could do something with historical fiction. You also really want you to take revenge for your plot, should you grab it now before someone takes it and come back for your genre in round two. But what if horror and historical fiction are already taken by then, can you make your revenge plot work in the humor genre. Some people could, surely, but can you pull it off? Are you safer taking the horror genre now and crossing your fingers for revenge in round 2?

I recommend color-coding the story elements. That way it's easy to see on the board which are taken.

There are also 5 bench spots. What you change your mind one week and want to exchange one running back for another? What if you change your mind one week and want to exchange one minor character for another? Load up your bench and put a claim on those story elements you just might want to use later.

After everyone's picked, you have a agreed upon amount of time to write a story with your draft picks. Good luck!


  1. Premise sounds really interesting. Genre certainly makes sense, but it would be interesting to figure out main and secondary character. I assume you'd be making these different common archetypes? Wish I knew enough writers to give this a go.

    Hope your team came out well. I had seventh pick of 12 in mine and am happy with my results.

  2. Ten writers in a room would get awfully loud awfully fast!

    1. Either really loud or really quiet...I'm picturing some sort of silent, brooding-style deliberating.

  3. If that second round pick of yours is Peyton Manning (kinda hard to see), you must be doing a little happy dance.

    1. It is indeed Peyton Manning (I'm a big fan)! He got me 60 points last night.

      And thank you for stopping by! I was thinking archetypes for the characters, but haven't fully hashed it out yet.

    2. I'm actually a Ravens guy, so that game was painful to watch.

      You should keep trying to figure that out. The writers draft really seems like it'd be a fun thing to do.

  4. The writers draft is such a great idea! I may try it with my writing group. :)

    1. It might even work for NaNoWrMo-ers who don't have a story idea lined up. Points awarded by number of words written. Thanks for stopping by!