Writing a Novel: Get Creative With Lists

Writing a Novel: Get Creative With Lists
Writing a novel? I wrote this post over a year ago. I’ve been sending the link to writers who need help, so let’s update the article for 2014.

If you’re disappointed with the sales of your Kindle novels, there’s usually just one answer — get more emotion into your books. Readers will forgive you just about anything, as long as they get an emotional payoff from your books.

When you write fiction, your aim is to give your readers an EMOTIONAL experience.

In order to do that, you must arouse the emotion in yourself, first. You can’t do that if you’re uptight, and are using your logical left brain. Relax, and free your creative, and emotional, right brain self.

Big tip: read in your chosen genre. Monitor your emotions as you read. Study how the author managed to arouse whatever emotion you’re feeling while you’re reading.

For example, let’s say you’re reading a horror novel. Chills go up your spine… You can’t turn the pages fast enough. You’re there, alone in the house, with the victim. You are the victim. Something woke you. You hear the stairs creak — someone’s coming up the stairs…

NOTHING is as important as arousing emotion in your reader.

Now let’s look at my favorite fiction-writing strategy: lists. Listing helps you to capture sensory details, which trigger emotion.

Generating Words (and Arousing Emotion) Using Lists

I start each writing session creating lists. Yes, each and every writing session. Lists help me to stay on track, meet my goals for a scene, and of course… arouse emotion.

Today, I’m working on a scene in which my lead character first meets the antagonist. So, I create a list: sunshine, bird song, clink of harness, creak of saddle leather, tired, hungry, sunburn, sound, fear, spooked horse…

Your lists help you to be in the novel, to hear the sounds, smell the scents, feel the emotions, see the sights. If you’re there, right in the action, using your senses, your reader will be there too. Your reader will feel what the characters are feeling, because you’ve triggered his imagination, and his emotions, by first triggering your own.

Here’s the thing — it doesn’t matter what you write on your lists. Their sole purpose is to kick your imagination into action. Your lists inspire you.

Aim for strong sensory details, and write them down. Then you can focus on the writing. If you don’t use lists, you’re trying to do too much — you’re trying to remember the scene’s details, and write at the same time.

If you need to stop writing, your lists give you an entree back into the scene, when you start working on it tomorrow.

Use lists. You’ll find that you’re more creative, and you can trigger your own emotions. When you feel the emotions, your readers will too.

 Other ways to use lists in fiction, and nonfiction

Lists are useful at all stages of your writing:

  • They help you to develop ideas;
  • They help to build strong characters;
  • They help you to KEEP WRITING, when you’re not in the mood to write;
  • They help you in revision…

Create a list for your current Work In Progress, right now.

Write Commercial Fiction

If you’re struggling with your writing, trading your hours for dollars, maybe it’s time you considered something different: write commercial fiction. Once written, your ebooks will sell for years…

Write Commercial Fiction

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Angela Booth is a top copywriter, multi-published author, and writing teacher. She offers many guides, courses and classes to help writers to enhance their skills on her websites. She also provides inspiration and motivation for writers on her writing blogs. Angela has been writing successfully since the late 1970s, and was online in the 1980s, long before the birth of the Web. Her business books have been widely published.