threesixfivestart dice

three hundred sixty six
Younger, faster, smarter, I’d started writing threesixfivestart when it became clear that The Polaroid Press had to die. Hunkered down in an icy flat in Muswell Hill, I swear the ghost of HST had been screaming at me through that first night of fractured sentences and whisky. “Get something honest down, you swine. Mean what you’re doing or don’t do it at all!”

threesixfivestart was a project from 2009/2010 in which I wrote the first passage of a book every day for a year. The passages themselves linked to one another and looped a lot, and a bunch of themes emerged that I still use a lot today.

It was a great exercise, and a very good way of getting that kind of writing out of my system.

I met Aiden Smith at a comic show in 2010, and bumped into him again at Comiket, where he had some storytelling prompt dice for sale. At the same time I was wondering how to revisit threesixfivestart, and the two concepts gelled nicely.

I ran the entire contents of threesixfivestart through a programme to discover how often different words were used. From that I selected the first fifty ‘meaningful’ words and whittled that list down into four groups of six to give me a die about locations, one about actions, one about themes and one about people. Roll the dice, write the story.

With those prompts Aiden set about creating illustration for each of the thirty six concepts. He also bound them in a book, with short explanations below each image.


Ultimately the dice are a prototype of a product that I don’t think I’ll actually take into production, but it was a great process and I’m pleased we found a way of bringing threesixfivestart to life that wasn’t simply a matter of chucking it into InDesign and printing it out. This is much closer to the spirit in which I started writing it, and I’m very pleased with the results.