It occurred to me the other day: back when I started writing in the early nineties, I wrote uber-lists.
One hundred types of weapon? Bowling ball, shoe lace, squash racket strung with razorwire…
Fifty types of vehicle? Skateboard, parasail, monster truck, snow-shoes made from the same racket, with an ugg-boot gaffered to the top…
These lists added novelty to my writes. A protagonist from the first story I ever typed (gothic font, pop-art a-plenty) rode a quad-bike. At seven years old I already knew.
Quad-bikes are awesome.
And so are lists.
Luckily, they fit perfectly with the way we take notes as authors. Hear me out: you have a broccoli-related brainwave while slugging back cocoa in your jimmy-jams, so you grab a notebook and jot that thought-nugget down. But where does it end up? Lost amid a thousand disparate ideas.
Will you see it again?
But what if you had lists? Tens of lists? Hundreds of lists? You go to your green veg list and there it is!
So from tonight, I start lists again. Only they’re grown-up lists: Character flaws. Interesting verbs. Fun phrases. Things people do.
I’m in good company. Robert Rodriguez, director, cinematographer, and writer of Planet Terror and Desperado, makes awesome films cheap. Rather than forty guys working CG and a scale Titanic re-construction, he wrote a list of the awesome stuff he already had access to. Cars, nuns, guns, zombie goo (chipotle sauce), and so on.
Can you think of a list you need to start writing? Or you know of one, like this list of 1000 awesome things? Let me know.