Work has been cancelled. School has been cancelled. Indeed life as we know it has been cancelled. Many of you might even be social distancing at home in your childhood bedrooms, away from your friends and writing community. Today, Runestone is here to offer you a writing distraction, that just may help you clean our cache of bookmarks any reader worth their weight in paper is sure to have stashed in the drawers or books.

Bookmarks are almost as essential to reading as the actual book itself. Without them, pages get folded and torn. Spines become bent and frayed from being left open upside down. Places are completely lost and precious reading time wasted frantically trying to remember where you left off.

A lot of people take bookmarks for granted, some are cheap handouts at events, some expensive, some a masterful work of art, some a ripped notebook page or playing cards. But really they’re essential to any complete reading experience. 

So if you need some inspiration for your current writing project or just want to see how many bookmarks you have hiding in your bookshelf, here’s a fun way to use your reading partners to change up your writing.

Step one: Raid your books and bookshelves, find as many bookmarks as you can. Make sure to replace them with a playing card from an incomplete deck so you don’t lose your place. Once you have at least five then you can have some fun.

Step two: Spread the bookmarks out on a flat surface, table, floor, desk, doesn’t matter. Arrange them in any shape or alignment you wish. Have a notebook and pen, or your computer nearby, whatever you want to write on next to you. Start something new or continue something old.

Step three: Examine your bookmarks. Do any of them depict a type of landscape? A forest, desert, the ocean, a city? Take that landscape and make it the setting of your story or scene. If you have more than one bookmark landscape, use that for the next story or scene.

Step four: Do any of your bookmarks have writing on them? Take the second, fourth, or eighth word (Depending on how long the message is) on each bookmark and use that to start or end your next few sentences.

Step five: Take the brightest colored bookmark in your collection. What’s the texture of it? Smooth, soft, rough? What’s it made out of? Paper, cloth, yarn? Use the details of the bookmark to craft a new character to use in your story or scene.

Step six: do any of your bookmarks have tassels on them? If you do, tie them together. Twist them up as tight as you can. Make each tasseled bookmark into a character, using step five, that has tangled, complicated relationships with each of the other characters. If you can, use them in this story or save them for another project.

Step seven: Are there any animals depicted on the bookmarks? Have this animal be the companion or pet of one or more of your characters if there’s more than one animal. 

Step eight: Choose any two bookmarks, your favorite ones. Use any images depicted, people, animals, landscape, colors to determine the next major external conflict of your story or scene.

Step nine: Choose two different bookmarks, doesn’t matter which ones, to determine how your story ends. Use the texture, images, words, animals, people of the bookmarks to figure out how you want to resolve the story or scene.

Once your story or scene is complete or has reached a stopping point, make sure to put all bookmarks back in the books where you found them. Do what you wish with the story or scene, keep it, edit it, add on to it, delete it, toss it in the trash, light it on fire and watch it burn in the kitchen sink.

Feel free to pull out the bookmarks again, or find new ones and write with them as much or as little as you want.

Happy Writing!  

Meet the blogger:
KATIE FLINT is a recent graduate of Hamline Universty with a BFA in creative writing. Her work can be found in The Fulcrum, and Sensicality. She loves writing fiction and poetry and enjoys exploring different genres. She adores dogs and almost every other creature on the planet except mosquitos. She can usually be found on the floor binge watching Netflix while her puppies snooze on the couch. 

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