Lists Are Your Friend

If you have 5 minutes, prep for your outlining by making a list of lists. This could include:

  • 5 possible endings for your book
  • 5 twists
  • 5 possible subplots
  • 5 ways the subplots could tie into the main plot
  • 5 ways the character could grow
  • 5 surprising things that we could learn about a character
  • 5 ways to add some unexpected elements to the book (humor, suspense, sadness, fear)
  • 5 ways to describe the main setting/another setting

Discuss this exercise

Feel inspired? Share your story below.

Similar Exercises

Get your creative juices flowing with these similar creative writing exercises.


Magic #50

At the root of all writer’s block? Fear. You’ll recognize it by the questions you ask yourself when you sit down to write: Can I really finish an entire story? Am I a good enough writer …


Batman versus Superman

Comic books don't have the luxury of prose, so what's said out loud needs to be both relevant and authentic. Take any conversation in your manuscript and try to transport it into the pages of …



Write a description of the room you are in from the point-of-view of a character in your work-in-progress. If the character is from another time or place, so much the better. What would the character …


The Gatsby Method

Establishing how your character is perceived by others is a great way to give them greater context. It can provide the author with expectations to subvert for the reader and add an interesting mystique to …


Go The Other Way

Choose a random occupation, a random personality trait, and the trait's opposite. Now, outline a train of events that explains how a person of your chosen occupation changes from having the random trait to having …


Translate Your Memories

This exercise is particularly helpful for those who write for children and youth. Study an old photo of yourself or your family from your childhood. It’s probably easy to remember the who, the where, …