Posted by: victanguera | June 27, 2011

Make a Little List: Writing Prompt #341

I’m not by nature a physical list maker. All those little pieces of paper get lost on my desk, scrunched up on the bottom of my purse, or forgotten in my coat pocket. Instead, I keep a running tally of tasks in my head. Usually it works. But right now I’m on staycation. And I’ve got a gasptacular amount of things to do. Maybe a written list or two might help.

So for today’s prompt, think about your main character and the things they need to accomplish. Are they a list maker? Methodical and organized? The kind to wing it and hope they don’t forget anything? Somewhere in between? Think about ways that this could be used to increase tension and/or conflict. For a list maker, what would happen if they lost the paper with their tasks on it? Could they still function? Would they panic? Would the non-list maker cope with almost everything, but discover they forgot to do the most important item?



  1. The story I am writing now has four co-characters. I am not sure if one is the main. Del could be the main the story follows her alone for awhile. She is probably a list maker. Her image in my mind is a very organized woman. In the future as my stories evolve beyond shorts, I could see time management becoming important, but I hadn’t thought of them as needed it until I read your post. Thank you for the great blog.

  2. I have a character who makes lists, obsessively, but not lists of things to do. He just lists things.

    • So what is his motivation behind making lists? Is it an OCD-type thing? A way of keeping track of what is going on? Like me and once he’s made the list he kind of remembers what he needs to do and never looks at the list again? That’s an interesting quirk that makes you want to read more :}

      • Yeah, pretty much OCD. That’s even how he identifies himself, an obsessive-compulsive bass player. I’m not sure how often he looks at the lists, but they are stored carefully in his apartment (until he suddenly has to go on the run and needs to decide, very quickly, what he can take and what he has to leave).

      • So does he make a list of the lists he needs to take when he flees? That would be interesting.

  3. Nope, no time to make any lists at that point. Here’s the scene:

    • Ooh, yeah grabbing a list would be tricky in that situation. How does he feel about having to leave behind his lists?

      • He misses them, but he lets them go. It is part of him realizing that he has real human people to worry about now, people he has to work to keep alive, and that is actually way more important.

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