At Christmas in 2015 one of my presents was a set of Rory’s Story Cubes.
At that point I had looked at them before in the shop as a tool for creative writing but I’d never used them or bought them myself.
You can check out the full story of the cubes and how else they can be used on their very colourful website if you wish, https://www.storycubes.com/
My pack of nine cubes show 54 pictures that relate to ‘voyages’ which was a pretty good choice for me. I must admit that I love the small, and portable, box that the cubes come in.
What is slightly less positive for me to admit is that I haven’t actually used them until today. I wanted to use them but they got put on the shelf and I just didn’t pick them up again. So, I figured that my blog was a great opportunity for me to give them a go and start a story from scratch using them. The idea is that you roll all nine dice and the picture you see first is what you should start to write about.
The part that took the longest might’ve been coming up with a character name before I’d even started rolling the dice. It’s been longer than I thought since I started with a name for a character rather than a personality trait or an opening line.
I’m going to use nine of the dice to write part of a new story because you get nine in the set so I thought that it was a good starting number. Once I’d settled on the details of Morgan Swift who is female I turned to the dice and told a story.
_____ _____ _____ _____
There were great ships, but none were more feared than the October.
There were also ships that didn’t quite reached these lofty heights and Morgan belonged to a crew of unknown repute.
The Kipper (an unfortunate spelling mistake as it was supposed to be The Ripper and it was not noticed until it had been seen by many. The name stuck) was no small ship but as a fairly new crew they were scrambling for recognition.
That afternoon, Morgan would’ve settled for a decent meal and the repair of the flag before they set sail once again as an unfortunate tear made it look as if their skeleton had lost it’s head.
The rest of the crew weren’t really in higher spirits but as the captain stepped out onto the deck they scurried to their stations and their duties without a murmur when they saw her scowl.
The engine had been fixed but being stuck in any Sky Port in the North was no one’s idea of a good time. Certain parts of land and sea could provide a fruitful payday if you knew where to look and you could withstand the frigid weather but the Sky Ports were always filled with people who wanted to be somewhere else.
Fitting the telescoped to her eye, Morgan watched from a distance as the Authorities swarmed the ports. As usual they’d left just in time to avoid trouble.
Regardless of whether the trouble was their fault or not, the captain’s mood would not be improved. No one who was voted a pirate captain could avoid attention for very long but their captain seemed to be particularly put out that she’s not yet found her way into the spotlight.
She turned away from the port and the captain caught her eye. Time for a word with the boss.
After an eventful conversation with the captain, Morgan made her way below deck. The engine room was only occupied by one crew member which was pretty typical for the Kipper. Tori was inspecting every little corner in another check to make sure that the engineers of the Sky Port hadn’t touched anything she’d not wanted them to.
The engine room had been Tori’s domain for five long years and she was still unhappy that she’d not been able to do the repairs herself.
Nobody would’ve previously guessed that a snake could’ve some so much damage.
They’d never seen Tori so violent before.
The captain hadn’t yet told Kit what had happened to his pet.
They were all hoping for a distractions before that conversation became necessary and Morgan was sure that any future pets wouldn’t be given the full run of the ship again.
Now that they’d set sail once again most of the crew were, obviously, hoping to go after treasure. Shiny trinkets were a classic commodity but Morgan (and Tori) were just happy to be sailing again.
Plus, the lengthy stopover in a port where everyone was eager to finish their business as soon as possible meant that the merchants were happy to sell everything and anything that they could get their hands on. Decent meals were definitely in their near future for a while.
Once Tori noticed that Morgan was watching her she held up a slightly tattered magazine excitedly, “Have you seen this? They’re building ships which can sail underwater.”
“Why would you want to sail underwater?”
“Because we can! Imagine all of the shipwrecks from centuries ago which were full of gold.”
The thought of buried treasure wasn’t totally unappealing.
“How would you get the treasure to the surface?”
“They’ll figure something out and then…”
“We’ll steal it?”
Tori glared but she didn’t exactly disagree. She’d managed to persuade an old friend to let her borrow a couple of pieces of ship that were supposedly designed to last underwater and if her own experiments didn’t work then she knew that stealing it was an option.
Tori gestured to the map pinned against the wall, “So, where are we going?”
“Captain wants us to turn south. She’s not keen on the weather here. She told me to point out the open invitation to…”
Tori pulled a knife from her belt and tossed it at the southern hemisphere, “We’re going that way. The captain’s reunion can wait.”
Morgan sighed, “Fine, but you can tell her. I’m more involved than I want to be as it is.”
Smirking, Tori turned back to her instruments, “Shouldn’t have saved her life then.”
_____ _____ _____ _____
That was kind of fun. My mind immediately jumped to airships when I saw the cogs so the jump to a high fantasy genre was slightly unexpected but it was an interesting challenge.
It wasn’t necessarily easy to write using the dice. I had to stop and really think a couple of times as to what I was going to write next, but overall I liked the exercise.
A little while ago Cara, who wrote a great guest blog post for me: Patronus VS Spirit Animal invited me to return the favour by taking part in one of her video blogs. We chatted for quite a while about the Harry Potter movies and she posted the video yesterday on YouTube Pottercast: What The Films Did Better Than The Books.
For my first experience in video blogging I thought that it was great. We had a great topic and it was a lot of fun. I’m glad that Cara asked me to be a guest.