Review: Writer Emergency Pack

I'm a big fan of game elements used to tell a story. At the most basic level, all games tell some kind of story already, but I really like it when gaming and storytelling go full throttle. RPGs are probably the extreme of this philosophy, but screenwriter John August's Writer Emergency Pack is a unique way a gaming aid can crossover into the real world and help storytellers.

The Writer Emergency Pack is a deck of cards designed to help with the age-old issue of writer's block, or just stale, predictable writing. It's a deck of cards broken into two types: illustrated cards and detail cards. The twenty-six illustrated cards have the same logo on one side and different picture and caption with on the other. The twenty-six detail cards have more details (on both sides) that go into depth about the topic covered on the illustrated card. Both cards, used in tandem, are supposed to help your story snags and help you get on with your life.

The idea is that you shuffle the illustrated cards and draw one, linking it with the corresponding detail card (see the video for an example). These cards give you pictures, scenarios, and challenges that force you to think and help you write your way out of a corner. It's a great spin on the writing exercise and I really like the possibilities it presents.

The cards are of high quality, and the layout and artwork are excellent. I especially love the logo of the drowning man. If you've ever been a writer, you'll know how he feels. This isn't just eye candy, however. The information and the way it's presented is also top notch. No one will lose using this on whatever story (or script) they are trying to write. Away with you, writer's block, away!

If I could change anything, it would be to get all the pertinent info on both sides of one card and double the number of them. This would provide fifty-two options instead of twenty-six. It would also do away with the split deck operation, which is a bit clunky when you draw one card and have to look up the other.


Writer Emergency Pack
$19 + shipping