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Make lists to find out where to take your story next

I’ve been working on a children’s story off and on and find that I stop when I get stuck about where to take my character next. A post last week by Seth Godin, Exhaustive lists as a reliable tool for unstucking yourself, made me think of how I could use his technique to figure out where my character needs to go next in his quest. Thanks Seth!

Here are my examples of exhaustive lists to make when I’m stuck on a writing project.

  • All the possible names I could name each of my characters.
  • Every type of trouble I could inflict on a particular character.
  • Every source of help my character might seek to get out of trouble.
  • Every publisher that might be a fit for my story.
  • Book titles that would pique readers’ interest.
  • Editors or agents who might want to represent my work.
  • Out of-the-ordinary ways to market my story.
  • Publishing options from traditional to non-traditional.

The idea is to go crazy. List everything. Then team up with another writer friend and share your ideas. Together you’ll likely build even more crazy good ideas to push your writerly self forward.

Godin says that going beyond the obvious is where innovation lies.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Interesting idea. There’s something appealing about the idea of using up all the obvious ideas, working through until you find the best ones.

    February 10, 2014

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