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Subject: Find your literary muse with 'Best Sellers' rss

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Bob McMurray
United States
La Grange
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Game Play - a quick summary

In each of 10 rounds one player chooses 3 cards from a deck of 52 (2 for each letter of the alphabet). All have letters on them but one is flipped over to reveal a picture of a book cover and title which serve as the theme to be used for that round.

Once the book title and the two letters have been chosen, a two minute timer is started and all players begin writing a story inspired by the title/theme of the book cover. Players earn points by including as many words as possible which begin with either of the other two letters chosen for the round. Each word that begins with one of these letters is worth one point.

- Words only count the first time they are used.
- Words must be in complete sentences to count.
- Words beginning with yellow letters are worth 2 points.

When the two minutes are up, each player stops writing. Then, each participant reads their story and announces the number of points earned.


Best Sellers is a surprisingly unique game which is also very intense. It reminds me of a fun, offbeat, exercise in any literature class. The titles and book covers are designed to be provocative and suggestive. There are a wide range of titles as well such as 'Behind the Painted Porch', 'International Intrigue', and 'Paris Romance'. The fun is partly in the shared experience of your own literary muse racing the 2-minute egg timer and partly in the shared experience of having to read aloud your creation thereby exposing just a little bit of your inner self. Plus, of course, there's fun in hearing all of the stories!

During those torturous 2 minutes it is a great and real challenge to generate a plot, perhaps with dialogue, which consistently uses the target letters yet consistently stays within the same style and tone you have chosen for your "novel". Plus, don't forget it needs to have cohesion, make sense, and hopefully, come to some kind of conclusion. All literary styles are available with that round's theme usually suggesting one or another including romance, light horror, science fiction, and adventure. Two minutes indeed as the best writers will only churn out, maybe, 3 paragraphs!

As in anything, comedy is very difficult to pull off well - but the short time-frame and emphasis on two juxtaposed letters often lends itself to the creation of the silly and the absurd. Eugene Ionesco would have loved this game . Not to worry though as you are part of the larger community and as soon as you're done the next person gets to read theirs!

You can play this game competitively, and there definitely is a scoring system with the letters, but there really is a game within a game here with elements of a "co-operative style" game as everyone is playing against their own muse while contributing to the shared experience! In addition to the regular scoring each member of your game group will enjoy the challenge of literary creation, openly appreciate the novels written by the other writers, and provide helpful (and often necessary) encouragement to their fellow gamers.


If you were the kind of person who could have fun at school or college doing offbeat games which sharpened your thinking and techniques I think you would enjoy 'Best Sellers'. 'Best Sellers' provides a unique environment for creation, personal challange, laughter and camaraderie. Given its unique space it should always have a place in certain game rotations.

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