Playing With Words

July 08, 2018

Language is rich. In fact, we search for “Chocolate Words” - rich, delicious words that create a picture in your brain. Because everyone has a different set of memories, the same word will conjure up slightly different images in our minds. 

Imagine something as simple as a “blue house.” Not much description. I bet a picture popped into your brain. Because there wasn’t much to go on, your mind filled in the gaps using your memories of houses and shades of blue. 

Sometimes when you’re writing, it’s good to leave details to the reader’s imagination. 

And… sometimes you, as the author, need your reader to know exactly what that blue house looks like. The details are critical to the storyline.

When details matter, it’s time to pull out the “Chocolate Words.” 

  • Did the house have a porch, steep stairs, a wrap-around veranda?
  • Was it a bungalow, two-story, or ranch style home?
  • Was the paint fresh or peeling?
  • Was there any trim around the windows?
  • If so, what color?
  • Was the house in good repair or neglected?
  • Where was the house located?
  • Town or country? 

Here’s a fun and interactive game to play this summer, perhaps on a rainy day or hot afternoon when you wouldn’t want to be outside anyway.

Supplies Needed:

  • Markers, pencil crayons, or crayons
  • A stack of plain paper (even the back of one side used paper)

How to Play:

  • One person, “The Describer,” describes an object or scene. 
  • The other players, “The Artists,” draw and color the object or scene as it is described. 
  • When the drawings are done, see how each person imagined what the describer was describing.
  • There is no ‘right’ way to draw the object or scene. 

If you want to extend the activity, talk about what “Chocolate Words,” the describer could use to help the artists more accurately draw what was in the describer’s mind.

Although no physical writing is done, this pre-writing activity is a great way to get reluctant writers thinking while having fun. When it comes time to write, they’ll already know how to extend their descriptions.