Day 10: Make Your Own Luck

Day ten, grab a pen!

Welcome back, adventeers, to another edition of “WHQ makes you write weird stuff” (and you LOVE it).

Today we’re gettin’ lucky. And, yes, also a bit weird. The best combo, right? Because every good story idea becomes GREAT when you twist it just a little. 

Your task for Day 10 is to come up with an unusual good luck charm. Perhaps you already have one—a strange object you carry around with you, or a funny little routine you do every day, or a special secret action you perform because you’re 99% sure it’s stopped a piano from falling on your head (hey, it’s worked so far!). 

Gif of a man saying "pure luck"

I mean, good luck charms/routines are already pretty weird. Seriously, look at this stuff:

Carrying around a rabbit’s foot (specifically the left hind foot of a rabbit captured in a cemetery under a full or new moon)

Collecting stones with holes in (hagstones ftw!)

Medieval peeps believed a (used) hangman’s noose possessed occult good luck and could cure headaches and fevers

The Romans loved a good old winged phallus and would hang bells depicting this delightful image above their doorways (called a tintinnabulum)

An image of a tintinnabulum - a winged phallic good luck charm with bells hanging from it.
ding dong

In Poland, it’s traditional to eat carp on Christmas Eve and carry a scale or two around in your wallet for the rest of the year for prosperity

Or how about one of the many bizarre rituals people do when they see magpies to ward off bad luck:  

  • Salute
  • Say ‘Good morning general’ or ‘Good morning captain’ or ‘How is your lady wife today?’ or “Hello Jack, how’s your brother?’ (because apparently all magpies are male?!) 
  • Doff your hat
  • Spit three times over your shoulder 
  • Blink rapidly to fool yourself into thinking you’ve seen two magpies 
  • Flap your arms like wings and caw loudly to mimic the magpie’s missing mate

Ah, humans. The most ridiculous of creatures. 

So look, the bar for odd good luck charms is already pretty high but I reckon you could come up with something just as—if not more—weird. 

For example, as documented in our Intro to Journaling course, every morning on the school run I have to slap the stump of a tree because, well, it’s incredibly slappable. 

A close up of a tree stump
just look at it

Now it’s your turn. 

Take a few minutes to come up with some unusual lucky charms. Perhaps it’s a phrase or gesture or routine or reaction to seeing something specific. Wander round your house and find something strange or mundane or inspirational. Or use this random object generator to spark off some ideas. Or pick something from this collection of objects found by London mudlarkers (hunting for treasure washed up on the banks of the Thames)… 

An assortment of objects found washed up on the banks of the Thames: keys, buttons, coins, horse stirrups, jewellery, tools, etc

Spend 20 minutes thinking about what makes your chosen object, behaviour, action or thing LUCKY and how it might become part of a character’s story. For example:

  • Where did their lucky routine/object come from? 
  • What happens if they lose their special object? 
  • What if it really is super 100% lucky and brings them all the fortune? 

Have fun, get weird, and happy writing. 

Don’t forget to share your work (or just come say hi) on the advent forum for feedback, advice, gold stars and general writerly chat!

(And make sure to slap a tree stump if you pass one… Just in case it IS lucky.) 

Useful Stuff & Things:

For more inspiring (and strange) objects, check out this exercise on Museum Artefacts by Madeline Odent

There’s also a lovely unit on making the ordinary extraordinary in our Writing Short Fiction course

Want to be a better writer?

Or just to laugh at bum jokes? Either way, you need the famous Writers’ HQ newsletter. You know what to do – put your thing in the thing.