Sunday, December 18, 2011

how to write a novel in 52 chapters

by rhoda penmarq

take two standard decks of 52 cards. shuffle them.

for the first one, assign each card in the deck a number from 1 to 52. easiest way - ace through king of hearts are 1 to 13, ace through king of diamonds 14 to 26. etc.

every day, or every day that you want to add a "chapter", turn one card from the shuffled deck over. this will give you the number of words for that day's chapter.

for the second deck , assign each of the 26 number-color card combinations (red aces. black queens, etc) a letter of the alphabet from a through z. the first word of the chapter will start with that letter. for unlikely letters like x or z, do what you can. i suggest using "ex" for x, and some approximation of "zero" (like "none" or "nothing") for z.

when you have run through the decks, your 52 chapter "novel" will be complete.

illustrations are optional, but recommended.

for samples of this method in practice, see "la femme" by gabrielle-jeanette perfidy , and "je propre la nuit" by jean-claude etranger.


Peter Greene said...

Neat! Phil Dick used the I Ching to aid composition of the brilliant Man In The High Castle. All it takes is the superposition of form upon formless...

...or, the other way 'round: to see the outlines of the face of God, cast a handful of sand into the wind...

Dan Leo said...

Trade secrets of the masters revealed!