Do-Lit-Yourself: Short Story Prompt Dice

May 15, 2018

Want to get in on the Short Story Month action, but feeling some writer's block? Build our set of prompt dice (writer's blocks?) and get to writing a short story of your own.

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In the Oulipian tradition of restricting one's writing to a specific set of rules or restrictions, these short story prompt dice – one each for character, plot, and setting – will force your hand into writing a short story that might unlock all kinds of new twists and turns in your writing. Try experimenting with just one die, or go for all three: whatever gets you in the writing spirit!


For this do-lit-yourself, you'll need 8.5" x 11" printer paper (different colours makes it easier to distinguish your dice, but white also works fine!) and access to a printer, as well as our dice printable (clicking will begin a .pdf download). Once you've printed out the dice and followed the construction directions, it's time to get rolling! If you're rolling all three dice, the order of the prompt will always read in the order of Character – Plot – Setting. 

Here are some of the combinations we struck:

  • A newlywed falls through a portal where the 1980s never happened on an overnight train ride across Canada.
  • A doppelganger meets a talking cat only they understand in the alleys of a major city.
  • A retired super-villain becomes suddenly allergic to the word "hello" at a ski resort in the Rocky Mountains.

Let us know if a story results from your own dice throws, or what you'd add to your own DLY dice!


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For more literary craftspiration, click here.


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