Rolling through NaNoWriMo

November is National Novel Writing Month and Eureka Workshop is very excited. But what does novel writing have to do with computer science, Natasha? I’m glad you asked! We already know that science fiction helps imagine future technology. We also tend to appreciate writers that know their stuff when they talk about different fields of science – a story about a town that lives underground feels extra realistic when we learn how their electricity works and how they grow food. But even more than that, we can use a few computer science tricks to help us brainstorm a story.

Pepper and I created a random character generator that recommends some interesting space travelers. It’s a good companion to Takuma Okada’s Alone Among the Stars, also featured in this issue. All you need is a dice and some paper to record your character. Give it a try!

Roll a dice three times. The first time, write down the phrase from the first column that matches the dice roll. The second time, record the second roll from the second column. And the third time do the same for the third column. If that makes you think of other facts about this character, write them down as well. Don’t forget to choose a name.

resultfirst rollsecond rollthird roll
I carry nothing but this mysterious compass. It shows me the way toreveal something unexpectedso that they’re proven wrong.
My keen sense of smell will guide me to
uncover the source of my family’s bad luckso that I can sell it.
My parents made this journey, now it’s my turn to
find something that feels like homeso that no one else can have it.
I have prepared a variety of gadgets to help mefinally have a good night’s sleepso that I keep my promise.
There’s no turning back until Imeet someone to give me strengthso that I can go back home a hero.
The prophecy of my birth leads me todiscover proof that what I saw was realso that my lost pet finds me.

Your character’s name:

Your first roll:
Your second roll:
Your third roll:

Any additional information about your character?

Use this to jump start a space adventure! You can write a novel, draw your character, or tell a simple story to your pets. And if you make something you’re proud of, the Snail Mail team would love to see it! Submit your masterpiece here.