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Are You Listing?

August 26, 2011

Lists. I love lists!!Shopping lists, daily chore lists, honey-do lists, pros and cons lists; I am a list person!






Listing in preparation for writing is a much more time-consuming process, but it allows for more detail and development. It is a great second step to your brain-storming (or a first step if you don't like brain-storming). It allows you to compare some of the points of development, by putting everything next to each other. It is also a lot easier to do on the computer, for you green writers!


How does listing work? Well, it is pretty straight forward. You pick a topic and write a list of things to go with that topic. For example:


Main Character




Mixed descent

Mid to late twenties

Stumbles into ER all shot up

Dies on the operating table

Comes back to life unexpectedly

Cannot remember anything

Little physical markers prevent her from being identified.


Plate in right ankle indicates high school age injury broken leg, dislocated ankle

Very intelligent

Good with languages

Heals quickly

Develops unique abilities: Speed, strength, agility

Likes exotic food

Prefers black and muted colors

Likes the cold

Has incredible dancing skills

Great rhythm

Exudes confidence, despite not knowing who she is.


This is a general character description. You would do this for all of your characters, even the most unimportant. The more detail you can provide, the easier it will be to see your characters and story as a real world situation. Know that half of the material you provide may never end up in your story, but that is ok. The important aspect is feeling that this world you are creating is real so that you can convey that reality to your readers. Remember that we said the same thing about all your research? Yeah, your research should also be taken and used to help make the lists. Lists are not limited to your character development. They should be written for all aspects of your story.


Here is a good setting list:


Setting (Different story list)

Aiken, S.C.


Main character attends South Aiken High School

Lives in Gatewood Apartments on the south side of Aiken

Hangs out at the local park, Odell Weeks

Small-town southern mentality affects the main character who is originally from the North

Major roads to know: Pinelog Rd, Whiskey Rd, Powder House rd.

Active in the Aiken Community Playhouse Youth wing at Odell Weeks park.





(OK, I sort of cheated and took a lot of this experience from my own history, without doing all of the research. But you better believe that when I decided to write a story where my character travels through Chicago and Peoria, IL, Google street view was my best friend!!)


Now, get listing!


How do you feel about lists? Let us know in the comments below!


Until next time, 


Keep Writing!




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