Looking back at my writing the last few weeks I've discovered some new stops along the John Is Writing Game:
Grandma Matriarch: It's The Queen! It's the Powerful Old Woman! It's... Grandma! (Very seldomly, Grandpa!) She's rich, she's experienced, she's got controlling secrets, she's got cookies! She might be a high priestess, or a sorceress. She might be dead but still influencing story events, and she very likely represents the Old Order the protagonist must appease, learn from, subvert, or outwit. Roll Die: 1-4 Have some cocoa and stay where you are. 5-6 Go back to Dion Fortune.
Weaving on the Loom of the World: What's that Grandma has? It's a loom, and her shuttle passes the weft between the warp lines as they go up and down, drawn by the heddle. Wait a minute; you say Grandma's a musician: what is music but melody and words woven together? What's that--Grandma is a physicist: No problem, that's what Superstring Theory is for! Roll die: 1-2 Stop writing the story to research what an inkle loom is, 3 Go back to the Dictionary of Obscure Usage, 4 Go to Mystical!Magical!Science! 5-6 Lose a turn singing "The Circle of Life."
Dream Sequence: (Cue Stevie Nix singing, "Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions.") Lewis Carroll sends Alice down the rabbit hole, The Author sends characters to sleep. In a pinch, a Tarot Reading will suffice. Roll Die: 1-2 The Readers Are Confused, go to Dion Fortune. 3-4 Lose a turn trying to make this dream actually advance the plot. 5-6 Stay here.
Between the Worlds: Is the character half-human, half-faerie? Are there cyborgs in the story ("I'm not a man / I'm not a machine / I'm just something in between")? Maybe someone's leading a double-life, secretly pretending to be a mild-mannered secretary by day, but walking the astral paths by night. In any case, there are two worlds involved, and the main character is straddling them. Roll die: 1-2, Lose a turn watching "Amok Time" (that old Star Trek episode where Mr. Spock almost kills Jim Kirk in a mating ritual.) 3 Go back to "Gathering the Lost. 4-6 Stay here, between the worlds.