Friday, 20 November 2009

Lists

I read an interview with Neil Gaiman a while ago that was helpfully included in the copy of Neverwhere I've got lying around. In it, he suggested that probably the most fun part of the whole process was putting together the stalls at the floating market; coming up with random things that might be sold without it having any particular impact on the plot. More recently, I got to play much the same game, coming up with some random bits of backstory for one character, then coming up with some interesting shops of my own for a very short part of one of the novels. I came to one simple conclusion:

Making Lists is Fun.

Um... before anyone accuses me of being some sort of train spotter, I should probably point out that I mean that it's quite fun to do those parts of writing that involve making up groups of things without them particularly impacting upon the story, rather than that I derive any particular pleasure from compiling my shopping lists. Accordingly, and because I thought I'd like to spread the fun a little, I thought I'd make a list of lists the writers among you might like to try for yourselves. Or not, or a list of your own devising. In fact, that can be point one, can't it...

  1. A list of odd lists someone might make. Either as a starting point for then writing those lists, or simply because some odd character might have a thing for writing lists. Though what sort of person might want to do that?
  2. A series of shops, market stalls, or other places for acquiring things. Well, it is where this whole rambling thought started, after all.
  3. A list of inherently unlikely jobs, along with some suitably unlikely candidates for them.
  4. A list of the contents of someone's pockets. (The particular someone I had in mind for this habitually wears one of those coats that has more pockets than material. Rather like one of my coats, come to think of it)
  5. A list of all the people that a double glazing (or encyclopedia, or unicycle) salesperson has attempted to sell things to so far today.
  6. A list of things that the official "greatest thief in the universe ever" has stolen. Fire and the crown jewels have been done, but don't let that stop you.
  7. A list of places that a pair of rather elderly friends have travelled, having decided that they want some excitement, along with things they might have done there.
  8. A list of places someone might look for someone else, whether lost, avoiding them, or simply not met yet.
  9. A list of slightly odd things the fortune teller might really have seen in the cards/crystal ball/tea leaves.
  10. A list of stories that a particular character might tell, which has the amusing twist of forcing you to try and boil a story down to just a few words.

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