Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Book Review - Master Lists for Writers by Bryn Donovan


Every writer I know has been there. I myself have been there multiple times; that place where your imagination dries up and all of your brilliant ideas disappear like a butterfly in the fog, leaving you staring at a blank screen, dazed and absentmindedly tapping your foot to the throb of a blinking curser.

Or maybe you find yourself in that situation where you are able to write, but the words just don’t seem to fit. You are having a difficult time expressing yourself and your writing sounds flat, dull, uninspiring, even boring. You have writing goals and publishing deadlines to meet. What do you do?

Well, you can do what I have done in the past…just blow off your writing for the day. After all, there is all of that research that needs to be done – you know, on Facebook. But if you are looking to spend your time a little more productively, then I would highly recommend picking up a copy of Master Lists for Writers, by Bryn Donovan (Munds Park Publishing, 2015).

Master Lists for Writers is a tremendous resource for writers at any stage in their career. Whether you are working on your very first story or novel, or you are a veteran published author, you will find inspiration and motivation within the almost three hundred pages of writing tips and lists included between the covers of this gem.

Some of the helps you will find inside include:
  • 183 different facial expressions
  • Page after page of physical and emotional descriptions for your characters
  • 500 great words for action scenes
  • 25 plot twists
  • 25 motives for murder
  • 100 character quirks
  • 50 ways to show a character is a good person
  • Ways people say Good-bye
  • Ways people verbalize negative feelings
  • 50 actions that show attraction
And the “Lists” go on and on...

There is one whole section devoted to character names, from Viking names to medieval England. If your story takes place in the old west, and you are looking for just the right name for your protagonist or your antagonist, then the list “200 names from the Wild West” would be a good one to check out. Or maybe your story is more contemporary. Don’t worry, there’s no need to pick a name out of the phone book. Master Lists for Writers has a list of 400 different names for contemporary heroes and heroines.


Another section covers dialogue and yet another has numerous lists devoted to plotting your story. The only downside I see to this book is that it is filled with so much useful information that you might be in danger of spending your time reading through the lists instead of actually doing your writing! But I think that Bryn Donovan even anticipated that possibility because the last list in the book is “10 Reasons Why You Should Write That Story.” Master Lists for Writers is available at Amazon.

Bryn Donovan is a professional writer and published author and poet who teaches creative workshops at corporations and writing conferences. She earned her M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Arizona, and she lives in Kansas City. Her blog at bryndonovan.com has many additional resources for writers.

SDG