Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wicked Wednesday - playing telephone

Do you remember that children's game? Everyone sat in a circle. The first child whispered something into the next person's ear and the next person whispered it to a third child. As the phrase or word was passed on, it became garbled. Usually the message the last child received was nothing like the original. It was a lot of fun.

Things like that happen in our every day adult lives too. A word is forgotten in a text or a bit of gossip is misunderstood. It's a perfect tool to twist your plot. Send your protagonist to the wrong address or cause an explosive fight because of a mixed up message.

It's also a great way to trick the reader. What did the protagonist's lover really mean by that note? If the protagonist thinks the worst, so will the reader.

Simple children's games are a huge part of our fictional worlds. Games we all played as kids like hide-and-seek. A lot of horror stories have someone hiding from the stalking bad guy. Piggy in the Middle will have characters keeping something valuable away from someone. What about Hot Potato? I don't want the cursed ring, you have it. No, I don't want it! You have it. It gets passed back and forth, round and round. When the time is up, poor bloke that has the cursed ring is cooked.

What children's games do you see adult versions of frequently in stories?


  1. Spin the bottle?
    Just kidding!
    How about dodge ball? See who can beat the crap out of who...

  2. hahahaha Alex

    All I can think of is Swinging Statue, but how that relates to fiction, I have no clue. :P

  3. I can definitely see how children's games relate to fiction. For some reason Duck, Duck, Goose could make an interesting plot for a chosen one.

  4. Red Rover. Ah how cruel. Find the weakest link in order to break two people apart. Talk about ruining relationships!

  5. Good point. Might want to skip freeze tag though. Never want to give a reader a reason to stop cold, well unless it's to digest something really awesome. Okay, freeze tag is in!

  6. Hide 'n' seek comes to mind. Used to use that telephone game in health class to highlight danger of gossip.

  7. Follow the leader comes to mind for me. Blindly following can lead to all sorts of problems. :) Great post!

  8. My goodness, that's a great point. Hadn't really thought about it. If my brain weren't so abused at this point, I might have something valid to add. As is, I'm tossing cheese and dashing. ;)

    Unleashing the Dreamworld

  9. Thank you to everyone! You came up with some great games.

    Spin the bottle! *LOL* Sometimes that happens in stories, Alex! But, yeah, dodge ball. My least favorite of games!

    Cherie, Brandon was playing that game at school today. It turned more into a game of chase rather than returning to the vacated spot! *LOL*

    Loni, Red Rover. Nicely put. I'd thought of it, but I couldn't think of how to apply it.

    Elizabeth, freeze tag is perfect!

    Susan, interesting way to show gossip is harmful.

    Ava, yes! Follow the leader. I see that one a lot.

    Crystal, have a nap and eat some cheese. :)

  10. Hide and seek? This is a cool idea. I've never really thought about it, other than the other reindeer calling another names.

  11. What a great idea? I was a huge hide and seek fan. And I was horrible at the whispering game. maybe a combo of the two :)

  12. Wow- I never would have thought about that. But now that you mention it- it is very clear how these games show up in our writing. "Man Hunt" was a big winner in my childhood neighborhood. How many chases appear in print? Too many to count!


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