magistrate: The arc of the Earth in dark space. (Default)
[personal profile] magistrate posting in [community profile] allbingo

Hello, all! I wanted to stretch my plotting muscles, so I decided to tackle some seven-sentence stories (or seven-sentence summaries). To jump-start my thinking and give myself a set of creative constraints to work with, I put together a Bingo card for them. I'm amused by it, so I thought I'd share it with everyone.

I used the Demographics/Random Sets generator to put together a situation (taken from the Bingo Generator's list of Polti's 36 classical dramatic situations), a setting (taken from [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith's list of setting tropes), and a complication (taken from [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith's list of dramatic situations). I had the Demographics/Random Sets generator make sure to "Use each option only once per generated set", so that I wouldn't end up with repeats in situation, setting, or complication. Then, after I generated the random sets, I had the sets generator port the values over into the bingo generator.

The Demographics/Random Sets generator is still a bit buggy and clunky, but if you're willing to put up with its occasional misbehavior (like: occasionally buttons don't work; occasionally when you're trying to load a set of values from a comma-separated list, the list will be empty, and you'll have to re-load the list again and delete the duplicate empty list at the end), you can get it to do fun things like this. I've done "universe/worldbuilding prompt/word count goal" bingo cards; you could also do "a person, in a place, with a problem" combinations to kick off your plotting.

Anyway, just wanted to let people know that that was available to play with, and that hopefully I'll be able to continue to tweak and refine it. Here's the card I made, and feel free to play with it in any way you feel like:

Situation: Deliverance
Setting: Forbidden Zone
Complication: I Told You So
Situation: Revolt
Setting: Spy School
Complication: Out of Ammo
Situation: Abduction
Setting: Bug War
Complication: Hopelessly Outnumbered
Situation: Self-sacrifice for kin
Setting: Torture Cellar
Complication: Keep It Safe from Them
Situation: Daring enterprise
Setting: Elevator
Complication: Something Went Click
Situation: Self-sacrifice for an ideal
Setting: Genius Loci
Complication: Are You a God?
Situation: Pursuit
Setting: Inside a Computer System
Complication: Stranded in a Blizzard
Situation: Obtaining
Setting: Underground City
Complication: Caught in Bed Together
Situation: Ambition
Setting: Abandoned Laboratory
Complication: On Fire
Situation: An enemy loved
Setting: Hotel California
Complication: It Looks Hungry
Situation: Crime pursued by vengeance
Setting: Red Light District
Everything Is Spiders
Situation: Involuntary crimes of love
Setting: City of Canals
Complication: Pinned by a Boulder
Situation: Recovery of a lost one
Setting: After the End
Complication: Hull Breach
Situation: Conflict with a god
Setting: Prehistory
Complication: It's a Bomb!
Situation: Remorse
Setting: Youth Center
Complication: Stumbling in the Dark
Situation: Crimes of love
Setting: Golden Age of Piracy
Complication: Snake Pit
Situation: Adultery
Setting: The War Room
Complication: It Happens to a Lot of Guys
Situation: Slaying of kin unrecognized
Setting: Last Fertile Region
Complication: I Thought You Brought It
Situation: Rivalry of kin
Setting: Opium Den
Complication: No Parachute
Situation: Enmity of kin
Setting: Sapient Ship
Complication: Falsely Accused
Situation: Discovery of the dishonour of a loved one
Setting: Herland
Complication: Knife in the Back
Situation: Supplication
Setting: Cardboard Prison
Complication: Locked in with Monster
Situation: The enigma
Setting: Galactic Sargasso
Complication: Only One Spacesuit Left
Situation: Erroneous judgement
Setting: Death World
Complication: ... 05 ... 04 ... 03 ...
Situation: Fatal imprudence
Setting: Bazaar of the Bizarre
Complication: Naked in Public

Date: 2014-07-05 12:17 am (UTC)
craterdweller: (Default)
From: [personal profile] craterdweller
This looks fabulous! I've been wanting to make a bingo card that has multiple characteristics per square. I've tried running the bingo card generator separately multiple times but then had to copy/paste them all together. This might work out a little better so I may play with it some this weekend.


Date: 2014-07-05 01:28 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This is awesome. I have printed out the card for personal reference.

Some thoughts for future code development:

* Might there be a way to automate the combination function, so that prompts could be stacked like this more easily?

* Yes, I am also keenly interested in the version where you could repeat lists with different values to yield Character A + Character B + Situation, etc.


Date: 2014-07-05 09:07 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: (zero)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
I think I can make that work.

I haven't done much with the Demographics page because it's a bit over my head. I can work something that's already built, or modify it it's simple cut-and-paste, but much beyond that is ... well, look at my icon above that I use for computer related posts.

Ideally I'd like to see the Demographics Generator offer a handful of the most common points -- sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, etc. -- so that it would be easier to just toggle things on or off. Leave the new-category option for people who need to customize, but make it simpler to use as a quickie.

Date: 2014-07-05 02:02 am (UTC)
carriemac: (cosima-red smile)
From: [personal profile] carriemac
This is really neat! One of the coolest things I've seen in a while. Thanks for all the work you did on this. :)

Date: 2014-07-05 12:42 pm (UTC)
elizabeth_rice: Snoopy typing on his typewriter (Default)
From: [personal profile] elizabeth_rice
This is really cool and I've wanted something similar for weeks. Can I customise my own cards?

Date: 2014-07-06 02:23 am (UTC)
vexed_wench: (Default)
From: [personal profile] vexed_wench
This looks great! Thanks so much for all of your hard work.

Date: 2014-07-06 02:57 pm (UTC)
lea_hazel: Typewriter (Basic: Writing)
From: [personal profile] lea_hazel
Oh, that card is magnificent.

It just occurred to me that I might be able to use the bingo system and some quick javascript to help me plot/outline a novella. It's a format I'm not really versed in, and this might be just the thing to unbog me.


Date: 2014-07-06 07:01 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Give it a try, bingo cards are good for breaking creative blocks.

Also, I recommend the book The Fiction Writer's Silent Partner which has lists of things like settings, character types, plot complications, etc. It's meant to be used for brainstorming before a story, or browsed when you're stuck.


Date: 2014-07-06 10:30 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
If it's just a set of steps, rather than boxes with a combination of things (like setting, character, plot), then why is it more complicated than a bingo card? It should be possible to lay out just a row of boxes, and use any of the standard lists to fill them. That way if you wanted settings the character visits in order, or characters they meet along the way, or the timeline of crisis points, the same strip of boxes could yield that depending on what list you plugged in. And we already have lists for plot, setting, character, and theme.

Though I admit it would be rather awesome to have a graphic option that would actually lay out the seven boxes along a peak line, or a time line that could be printed out as a chain. Hrm, a more complicated version would be if you could select how many steps in the chain you wanted, like we have 3x3 or 5x5 bingo cards now.


Date: 2014-07-06 11:22 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
>> I think it's mostly because I get started thinking about suitability of plot points, both in regards to position in story and in regards to each other. So, if you wanted to have an escalating arc of tension, controlling for that is nontrivial. <<

Okay, I see where you're coming from there.

For me, part of the fun to random generation is precisely that it makes freaky things which challenge me to devise a way in which they could work. Take your Plot Challenges sample. Some of the boxes obviously stacked well, like "Situation: Deliverance, Setting: Forbidden Zone, Complication: I Told You So." Others demand more creativity such as "Situation: Involuntary crimes of love, Setting: City of Canals, Complication: Pinned by a Boulder."

So I would be okay with a plotline that didn't make sense at first and needed to be justified in the story.

I think it would be helpful to have a row option (7 steps, 9 steps, whatever) that we could use with the prompt lists we have now -- especially for folks who are good enough to make stacked boxes and import them into the bingo generator. Then if you have ideas or time later to make a more refined plot generator, I'm sure authors would be thrilled to have the expanded option.

Re: Hmm...

Date: 2014-07-07 04:33 am (UTC)
lea_hazel: Neuron cell (Basic: Science)
From: [personal profile] lea_hazel
I think if you assigned a numeric value representing level of peril, it would then at least allow you to control the scope/stakes of the plot. Where 1 is "marital dispute" and 7 is "apocalypse" for example. You would then be able to select the number of steps in your plot, as well as the level of danger suitable for e.g. a domestic drama vs. an adventure tale.

Re: Hmm...

Date: 2014-07-07 04:41 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Oh, that's a good idea! One of the shitty pieces of writing advice is "always do the worst." First time I got that in an assignment, and then of course the next step was "And now make it even worse," I raised my hand and said, "Excuse me, I destroyed the universe in Step 1." So yeah, scope is crucial.

Re: Hmm...

Date: 2014-07-10 02:39 am (UTC)
hyperfocused: Hyperfocused=Fey, posh, crude (Lex)/Fed Our Psyche (MR/TW) D-Cup of Heresy (Chloe) (Default)
From: [personal profile] hyperfocused
I'm still laughing at destroying the universe in the first step. Absolutely perfect. Or should I say perfectly awful?;)

Re: Hmm...

Date: 2014-07-10 03:09 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Heh. Yeah. I am quite a sadist. That is far from the only time I've destroyed the universe, or done other kinds of mass destruction.

One of my current series, Tripping into the Future, begins with using time travel as a weapon of mass destruction.


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