ysabetwordsmith: Bingo balls (bingo)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith posting in [community profile] allbingo
People play bingo, join communities, and participate in fests for all kinds of reasons. Here are some things you might enjoy trying in [community profile] allbingo ...

Have Fun

What ever happened to doing things just for fun? It's easy to get swept up in efforts to make progress, make money, or chase some other goal. But you don't have to. Having fun, relaxing and enjoying yourself are important parts of a healthy life.

Bingo is a game! You can play it just like that, for no other reason than creativity feels good. This is especially true for fanworks but applies just as well to original content. Make what YOU like. You don't have to please anyone but yourself. In [community profile] allbingo you don't even have to share your fills if you don't want to; you can just record that you made a bingo, and give yourself a well-earned pat on the back.

Practice Making Stuff

An excellent way to improve any skill is to do it in mass quantities. You can make one huge thing, such as a novel; or lots of little things, such as a deck of ACEOs. No matter how good or bad your skill level when you start, it will be better after you finish a round of practice.

This does not mean you should work mindlessly. It means you should work briskly and keep up your forward momentum. After you finish a section, or a whole project, look back at what you made. Try to find at least one each of things you could improve and things you did really well. Know how to analyze your art, writing, or other work. There are tips for practicing any skill.

Do you want to learn a new skill? A bingo card can help you get past the "not good enough" inertia. When you're first starting out, the goal isn't to make good stuff, but to make stuff so you can get a feel for the process. So what if it sucks? It's probably going to do that for a while. You're just learning. It's okay to make mistakes. There is no quality control on a bingo card! All you have to do is create things in order to make a bingo. So get out there and just suck!

Is there something in your current field that you do poorly and would like to improve?  Set a goal for yourself.  Make a bingo card especially for that. The more fills you make, the better you'll get, and calling bingo should give you a sense of accomplishment. Feel free to tell people about your practice goal when you make your claim post.

Develop Your Character(s)

Great characters don't happen by accident. It takes thought to create them (if you make things up) or exploration to meet them and get to know them (if you jot things down). They grow over time as you work with them.

You can use a bingo card to generate characters. Look at the things on the card and imagine how they would fit into a person. Then create your fills to explain how each prompt relates to this particular character. Here is a list of character traits divided into positive, neutral, and negative. You can use all kinds of things for this exercise, though.

Bingo cards can help develop individual characters or a whole team. For individuals, you might designate a row or column for different parts of their life: self, family, work, spirituality, recreation. For teams, you might assign each row or column to a different member; for this you might need more than a 5x5 grid.

Do Some Worldbuilding

It's exciting to create a whole world so that your work, or a subset of it, has a collective identity. Although generally associated with fiction, worldbuilding can apply just as well to poetry, painting, knitted critters, jewelry, or anything else that people create. It's not just for speculative fiction; there's a crochet coral reef, for instance. Look at the literature, arts and crafts, music, and other cultural content around the globe. Look at imaginary material in entertainment. There are common threads that bind groups of stuff together.

Suppose you want to make a new world or an imaginary country. Generate a bingo card that covers things like environment, politics, people, animals, plants, holidays, etc. If you're using a visual rather than text medium, add colors, shapes, or other aspects that relate to your chosen craft. Then try to figure out how each prompt would fit your setting. Maybe you'd like a batch of related places, such as planets in a federation or nations on a continent. Assign each area a row or column on your card. This is a great way to randomize traits and thereby avoid making another McEurope.

Here are some fantasy worldbuilding questions and a discussion of science fiction worldbuilding.

Poke a Bigot in the Eye

Sometimes people do really annoying things with entertainment, like saying women are ruining science fiction.  An effective response to this kind of nonsense is to strike back directly at their goal, which is to erase something, by making more of it and/or promoting examples of it that you like.

Use a bingo card to poke a bigot in the eye.  There are prompt lists in the bingo card generator by [personal profile] magibrain that focus on commonly targeted groups such as people of color and people with disabilities; see also [community profile] ladiesbingo  for prompts about female relationships.

You can also poke by recommending or sponsoring things that other people have made.

Create a Sequential Set

Sequential creativity is probably about as old as the human race. We really like to tell stories in parts, lay out pictures, string beads on a necklace, or otherwise make sets out of stuff. You can explore the difference between series and serial as rendered in books, short stories, television, movies, and other formats.

Bingo cards inherently arrange ideas into batches. Play a card to establish a new serial or series. One approach is to write prompts in chronological order; you might even want to make a 6x6 card to cover a whole month. Another approach is to assign a row or column to something like a character, a major setting, days of the work week, etc. Consider choosing an unusual bingo shape related to your theme, such as a heart for a romance. By the time you reach bingo you'll have enough content to introduce fans to your work effectively.

Here is a big batch of articles on how to write serial poetry. It should generalize well into many other types of sequential entertainment.

Compete Against Others or Yourself

Anyone can make a bingo card and play it in their own blog or other venue. However, for most of us, it's a lot more fun to play in company. The [community profile] allbingo community gives creative folks a place to share their work with each other.

Sometimes people like to compete. You can compete against yourself to see how much stuff you can make or how fast you can reach a bingo. You can race against someone else to see who reaches bingo first or who can produce the most material. You could even post a challenge to encourage other folks to make more stuff you like, without or without bait such as achievement banners or other prizes.

If you choose to compete, be a good sport. Nobody likes a sore loser or an ungracious winner. Remember that competition is an option, not a requirement. You don't have to do it if you don't like it.

Cross Over with Another Activity

You can use a bingo card in conjuction with some other event.  This can provide inspiration if none is furnished elsewhere, as in some "daily blog" rolls.  It can also diversify the prompts if there's another inspiration stream.

One approach is to post a call for prompts in your blog or other venue.  Use what you get, mixing in your bingo prompts wherever they seem to fit what you get from your audience.  Frex, you might get "home" from a reader and "alien planet" from your card, inspiring a picture of a homesick alien.  If the audience prompts are slow to arrive, you can start creating stuff based on your bingo card instead.

The same basic concept works if you cross two different bingo cards, or a bingo card with another static prompt list like the [community profile] rainbowlists  kind.

Another option is to use the bingo card in place of a session theme.  Display your bingo card in your prompt call post.  Viewers then pick a square and give you an idea based on it.  For example, the square might say "worst case scenario" and the prompter might instruct, "Destroy the world in the first paragraph, then go on from there."

What else can you think of doing with a bingo card? 


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