Monday, April 04, 2011

ABC, C for Checklists

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Character, cliffhanger, checklists - my Top 3 C's.
According to my own rule not to collide with one of my other serials, character has to step aside for one of the others. Well, cliffhangers are intriguing, but...

So, today let's talk about checklists. Various lists cross my every day life. I check the bestseller lists for new book inspirations. I check my grocery list to bring home really every needed item. The blogger in me lately discovered '30 days of lists' as potential summer month blog challenge. But what does the writer in me?

You know, I do my novel writing on the computer. The file is covered with virtual post-its and the only thing close to a checklist is my short list of editing aspects:
  • All 5 senses used?
  • Logic?
  • Number/frequency of dialogues?
  • My voice vs. Cathryn's voice (my heroine)?
  • Metaphors?
But I've never given much thought on using any other writing checklist ... until I made a little research for this post! Have you ever registered how many writing related checklists are available? There are checklists for conventions, fluency, organization, word choice, ideas, story structure, good writing, technical writing, creative writing, revision, ... some air please ... and so on and on and on. It's mind-boggling!

I got overwhelmed by the mass of results and like an addict I was greedy for more. After that first rush my brain restarted and became clear enough for some logic: What's the real worth of checklists?

In my opinion it's good to have them ... as additional support. But the main aspect - and I'm sure all writers out there will agree with me - is writing. Writing and writing again, delete and rewriting, experimenting with words, collecting your own experiences and finding your own style. To quote freely from the movie 'Matrix': Checklists might help you to find the way, but you have to walk through the written world's door only by your own feet! If you do, you can put a 'Done!' on that point of your checklist!

P.S. Character, cliffhanger and checklists are wonderful examples of English words integrating in the German vocabulary.

P.P.S. If you like to know some of my thoughts about characters, you might like these blogposts:
Writing Exercise 06: Developing Characters
WQ-02: Number Of Characters
WQ-05: Youngest & Oldest Character
WQ-09: Creating Characters
WQ-11: Most & Least Favorite Character

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