I love a good list. I would love a list about lists. I’m hooked.

Here is why:

  • It makes me feel as though I am doing something practical (even if I haven’t begun a single chore)
  • Lists help me remember (mostly)
  • It focuses my thoughts
  • I can prioritise better
  • It’s a pleasure – I  love the feel of a pen and the smell of the notepaper
  • Lists give me great story ideas without a lot of effort
  • It saves time
  • I look busy (this is good if you are supposed to be writing, but can’t think of anything)

Lists are very useful for writers.

You can use them to work out plot twists. For example – ‘She ran.’   Why?

  • When her feet were active, her brain was in neutral
  • She sensed someone following her
  • She had to catch up with him (don’t know who ‘he’ is at the moment and it doesn’t matter)
  • Suddenly it was all clear – she knew the identity of the murderer
  • She was in training for a race, and it was all that mattered to her
  • She was showing off
  • She was losing weight
  • The train was pulling away from the station and she had to be on it – lives were at stake
  • The school bullies were gathered on the opposite footpath
  • She loved the wind in her hair
  • She was being paid to stretch running shoes for someone else
  • Strange creatures were following her. No-could else could see them, but they were there.

You can think up wonderful settings.  Write a list of mysterious places. (Once, in a writing workshop, a young man wrote, ‘A giant’s left nostril’. Awesome.) Then choose a place from your list to use as a setting.

If you are having trouble coming up with the perfect name for a character, brainstorm in a list.

Write a list of your best friends.Write why you are friends. What is their best quality? What do they like in you? It’s fun to guess about this then ask them. You might be surprised. The more you understand about people and relationships, the better are your characters.

Write a list of uses for dragon’s breath. (Unleash your creativity).

Write your own list of lists, things you could use for writing warm-ups. Then pick a few each time to get your brain working before you start  a story. Even a simple list works, such as – write all the words you can starting with a particular letter.

List all the words you can make from a long word or expression. For example, ‘No Parking’. (Did you see ‘napkin’ in there?)

Write a list of your favourite books, then write why you liked them. You will learn much about what hooks readers and what doesn’t, what to include and to leave out.

Try a list of your favourite foods. Then write any memories attached to each, where did you last eat that and with whom. Choose one with a strong memory and make that the start of a story.

A list of words to describe yourself. (Be honest and don’t be shy.)

Write a list of ways you can use lists.

Welcome to ‘List-aholics’.