MASTER LISTS FOR WRITERS: Thesauruses, Plots, Character Traits, Names, and More

BOOK: MASTER LISTS FOR WRITERS: Thesauruses, Plots, Character Traits, Names, and More
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Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

INTRODUCTION

1. DESCRIPTIONS

  
DESCRIPTIONS OF FACIAL EXPRESSIONS

  
DESCRIPTIONS OF GESTURES AND BODY LANGUAGE

  
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTIONS

  
EMOTIONAL DESCRIPTIONS

  
EVOCATIVE IMAGES

  
MAKING METAPHORS

2. SETTINGS

  
100 POTENTIALLY INTERESTING SETTINGS FOR SCENES

  
SOUNDS FOR SETTINGS

  
SCENTS FOR SETTINGS

3. PLOTTING

  
50 ROMANCE PLOTS

  
50 HIGH-STAKES PLOTS

  
50 FAMILY PLOTS

  
25 WORKPLACE PLOTS

  
25 PLOT TWISTS

  
25 PLOT POINTS THAT CAN CRACK READERS UP

  
10 PLOT POINTS THAT CAN MELT READERS’ HEARTS

  
50 GOALS AND ASPIRATIONS

  
25 MOTIVES FOR MURDER

  
25 REASONS TO MOVE TO A NEW TOWN

  
25 REASONS FOR INITIAL ATTRACTION (Besides Good Looks)

4. ACTION

  
500 GREAT WORDS FOR ACTION SCENES

  
500 GREAT WORDS FOR SEX SCENES

  
SYNONYMS FOR INTIMATE PARTS OF THE BODY

  
50 ACTIONS THAT SHOW ATTRACTION

  
50 ACTIONS THAT SHOW ANIMOSITY

  
25 RESPONSES TO A CRISIS

5. DIALOGUE

  
25 WAYS TO WRITE FUNNY DIALOGUE

  
WAYS PEOPLE SAY HELLO

  
WAYS PEOPLE SAY GOOD-BYE

  
WAYS PEOPLE SAY YES

  
WAYS PEOPLE SAY NO

  
WAYS PEOPLE VERBALIZE POSITIVE FEELINGS

  
WAYS PEOPLE VERBALIZE NEGATIVE FEELINGS

  
WAYS PEOPLE PREFACE STATEMENTS AND QUESTIONS

  
WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS FROM MEDIEVAL ENGLAND

  
WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS FROM VICTORIAN ENGLAND

6. CHARACTER NAMES

  
NAMES FROM VIKING-ERA SCANDINAVIA

  
NAMES FROM MEDIEVAL ENGLAND

  
NAMES FROM REGENCY ENGLAND

  
200 NAMES FROM THE WILD WEST

  
NAMES FROM WORLD WAR II-ERA U.S. AND GREAT BRITIAN

  
200 NAMES FOR CONTEMPORARY HEROINES

  
200 NAMES FOR CONTEMPORARY HEROES

  
100 VERY COMMON LAST NAMES IN THE U.S. TODAY

7. CHARACTER TRAITS

  
100 POSITIVE CHARACTER TRAITS

  
100 NEGATIVE CHARACTER TRAITS

  
25 POSITIVE CHARACTER TRAITS THAT CAN ALSO BE NEGATIVE

  
50 PAST TRAUMAS

  
50 WAYS TO SHOW A CHARACTER IS A GOOD PERSON

  
25 WAYS TO SHOW A CHARACTER IS A JERK

  
25 VERY COMMON JOBS

  
25 POTENTIALLY HIGH-PAYING JOBS

  
25 JOBS THAT SOUND LIKE FUN

  
50 COMMON HOBBIES AND INTERESTS

  
100 CHARACTER QUIRKS

ONE MORE VERY IMPORTANT LIST:

  
10 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD WRITE THAT STORY

Master Lists for Writers

Copyright 2015 by Munds Park Publishing

 

All rights reserved

bryndonovan.com

 

First edition, October 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9967152-0-1

 

No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in print or electronic form without prior permission of the author.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

As I wrote this book, I was blessed with the enthusiastic moral support of my family, my “real life” friends, including the Scoobies, and my online communities—the Lentils, the Binders, and the NaNoWriMo group. I appreciate you all so much.

I also want to thank the readers and followers of my blog, bryndonovan.com. I would like to give special appreciation to Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert Hass for his permission to quote his poem in this book.

Most of all, I owe so much to Gill Donovan, a wonderful writer, a smart editor, the kindest human being I have ever met, and my soul mate. I love you, darling.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to
Master Lists for Writers
!

A couple of years ago, I started making lists to help me with writing projects. They included titles I might use someday, words for love scenes, medieval figures of speech, and ways to describe emotions. Essentially, they were specialized thesauruses.

When I started my blog, I shared some of my writing lists, and lots of people told me how useful they were. That inspired me to create this book.

To tell the truth, even as a little kid, I always loved making lists. They are exercises in thinking about all the possibilities, and as an optimist, that appeals to me. Additionally, I’ve always had the strong urge to help other people’s creative projects succeed.

Some people have referred to my lists as “cheat sheets.” I’m happy that they make writing faster and easier, because that was my intention. However, I don’t think you’re cheating by using this book! We all get inspiration and solutions from many sources—TV, movies, books, websites, conversations, and observations of real life. This book is just one additional resource.

If you find the perfect solution in here when you’re stuck, please feel free to apply it directly. That’s what the book is for. Chances are, you’ll have to either change it a bit or expand upon it to fit your writing. Even if you don’t, it’s a drop of water in the big sea of your story. It will blend in, and you’ll make it your own.

On the other hand, reading a list may make you think of a new solution that isn’t even on the page. That’s how lists work. For instance, when someone posts a top 10 list online, others usually chime in to ask, “But what about this one?” “How could you leave that one off?”

None of the lists in this book is comprehensive. In most cases, it would be impossible to make a complete list. You’ll probably think of additions, which is part of the value of the book.

I want to make a note about pronouns. At first, I tried to use “they” as a singular, non-gendered pronoun everywhere. Because of the succinct format of lists, the use of “they” sometimes made things confusing, particularly in the section on plot ideas. I’ve chosen to use “he” and “she,” mostly at random. Please remember that in every list, you can substitute any pronouns you like.

I hope this book is an inspiring, time-saving reference for you. Happy writing!

1. DESCRIPTIONS

It’s very important for most readers to be able to picture characters and items in a scene clearly in their heads. Writers also need good descriptions of facial expressions, body language, and gestures to convey emotions and to set up lines of dialogue without always having to write “said” or any of its synonyms. Sometimes, we need fresh ways to describe emotions directly.

It’s easy for us to rely on the same handful of descriptions. We can also lose our writing momentum when we take a long time trying to think of the right word or phrase. This section can make that process quicker and easier.

DESCRIPTIONS OF FACIAL EXPRESSIONS

I’ve categorized these expressions under “positive and neutral” (neutral meaning things like surprise and curiosity) and “negative.” I haven’t organized them according to particular emotion, because so many of them work for more than one. A person might narrow his eyes out of vindictiveness or skepticism, for instance, and his face might turn red out of anger or embarrassment.

Some of these require a little more explanation on your part. You’ll have to say what she’s glaring at, or if his face is contorting in rage, or grief, or what. And not all of these will work for every character—it depends on what the character looks like and how she generally reacts to things.

Some of these aren’t
exactly
facial expressions, but still useful for dialogue tags. In many cases I’ve given several ways to describe the same thing. While I have included some longer phrases, they are not proprietary and it’s fine to use them.

POSITIVE OR NEUTRAL EMOTIONS

These include, but aren’t limited to, happiness, love, desire, amusement, and surprise.

 

she raised a brow

he lifted an eyebrow

his right eyebrow shot up

his eyebrows waggled

his eyes widened

her eyes bugged

his eyes lit up

her eyes darted

he squinted

she blinked

her eyes twinkled

his eyes gleamed

her eyes sparkled

his eyes flashed

her eyes glinted

his eyes burned with…

her eyes blazed with…

her eyes sparked with…

her eyes flickered with…

affection glowed in his eyes

lust glittered in her eyes

the corners of his eyes crinkled

she winked

his lashes fluttered

she batted her lashes

she gave him a once-over

he sized her up

she took in the sight of…

he eyed her

she gave him a come-hither look

she slipped him a curious glance

he looked askance at her

she slid him a guarded look

she peered

he gazed

she glanced

he stared

she scrutinized

he studied

she gaped

he observed

she surveyed

she gawked

he leered

he gave her a puppy-dog look

his pupils (were) dilated

her pupils were huge

his pupils flared

he licked his lips

her lips parted

she smiled

he smirked

she grinned

he simpered

she beamed

a smile danced on his lips

her mouth curved into a smile

the corners of his mouth turned up

the corner of her mouth quirked up

a smile tugged at his lips

a corner of her mouth lifted

his mouth twitched

he gave a half-smile

she gave a lopsided grin

he pursed his lips

she stuck out her tongue

her mouth fell open

his jaw dropped

her jaw went slack

her whole face lit up

she brightened

awe transformed his face

relief suffused his features

recognition dawned on her face

his expression softened

NEGATIVE EMOTIONS

These include, but aren’t limited to, sadness, anger, disgust, fear, anxiety, exhaustion, and embarrassment. Embarrassment can sometimes be positive, such as when a person gets a compliment that makes her blush, but I think it’s more often negative.

 

his brows knitted

her forehead creased

his forehead furrowed

her forehead puckered

a line etched between her brows

his brows drew together

her brows snapped together

his eyebrows rose

sweat beaded her forehead

perspiration shone on his brow

her face glistened with sweat

her eyes went round

terror flashed in his eyes

her eyelids drooped

his eyelids sagged

his eyes narrowed

she rolled her eyes

he looked heavenward

she glanced up at the ceiling

he avoided her gaze

his eyes had a haunted look

tears filled her eyes

his eyes welled up

her eyes swam with tears

his eyes flooded with tears

her eyes were wet

his eyes glistened

tears shimmered in her eyes

tears shone in his eyes

her eyes were glossy

he fought back tears

tears ran down her cheeks

his eyes closed

she squeezed her eyes shut

he shut his eyes

her eyes bored into him

she pinned him with her eyes

he stared

she gave him a frosty look

he cast her a veiled glance

her eyes shot sparks

he glared

her nose crinkled

his nose wrinkled

she sneered

his nostrils flared

she stuck her nose in the air

he sniffed

she sniffled

his mouth twisted

her upper lip curled

he plastered on a smile

she forced a smile

he faked a smile

her smile faded

his smile slipped

she pouted

his mouth snapped shut

her mouth set in a hard line

he pressed his lips together

she bit her lip

she nibbled on her bottom lip

he chewed on his bottom lip

his jaw set

her jaw clenched

his jaw tightened

a muscle in her jaw twitched

he gritted his teeth

he ground his jaw

he snarled

her lips drew back in a snarl

she gnashed her teeth

her lower lip trembled

his lower lip quivered

she paled

he blanched

she went white

the color drained from his face

his face reddened

her cheeks turned pink

his face flushed

she blushed

he turned red

she turned scarlet

he turned crimson

a flush crept up her face

heat stained her cheeks

he screwed up his face

she scrunched up her face

he had a hangdog expression

he grimaced

she winced

she gave him a dirty look

he frowned

she scowled

he glowered

his face went blank

her face contorted

his face twisted

her expression closed up

his expression dulled

her expression hardened

his expression sobered

she went poker-faced

a vein popped out in his neck

fear crossed her face

sadness clouded his features

terror overtook his face

BOOK: MASTER LISTS FOR WRITERS: Thesauruses, Plots, Character Traits, Names, and More
10.62Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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