My earlier post on word games was hardly the last word on the subject. Lately I have been playing with
which are short pieces of writing composed of all the letters available in a Scrabble set. The rules are simple:
- All the letters must be used (see photo). Those of you familiar with Scrabble will be aware that this presents an odd constraint. The two blank tiles must be used but can represent any letter.
- Punctuation may be added when transcribing the text.
- Score bonus points for coherence and creativity.
Here are my first three Scrabble texts:
“You’re false, and ripe to expect a fatal wound,” a voice bawled over the silent quay, making dour zombies jiggle in their irons.
Mortality gives a birth extra zip. It’s vain feuding to challenge god’s quip. Fear is a one word joke once we eye a burial mound.
A placid mother, lifting her wee crazy boy and a sword into an ingenious vessel, joked about favouring experimental quiet.
Perhaps there are narrative weaknesses in the form, but it is an interesting meditation composing these texts. Where does one begin? The first word choices are relatively open, but they quickly reduce the field of possibilities. Towards the end, when faced with a collection of odd letters (perhaps four Is, a U, O, P and a V), it requires ingenuity and a willingness to dismantle the text if one is to find a solution. Along the way, meanings come and go as narrative impetuses are discovered and discarded. The final result is more noticeably a compromise of materials with intention than is usually the case with creative composition, and this raises interesting questions. For instance: are one’s Scrabble texts more (or less) expressive of the author than freer creations?
It is also wonderful to consider the plasticity of the alphabet. Every Scrabble text, however divergent in subject, tone and direction, is composed of exactly the same collection of letters.
This game could be extended by taking the letters of any text (the Gettysburg address, a shopping list) and rearranging them into another text.
If you write any Scrabble texts, please let me know (bing at netspace dot net dot au).
© 2019 Craig Bingham
Read something similar:
Word games [memoir]
Read something different:
Room to move [fiction]