Today I woke up at 06:15 am. I had my breakfast, swept my coffee and packed my things. I was in a bit of hurry because of school. My math lesson was about to start at 08:30 am. So I thought… Standing in the hall ready to go I suddenly remembered that the math lesson is tomorrow and not today. I could still have been in bed. Later on today I had an important appointment in the city. But when I got there it turned out that I was on the wrong place, so I missed the appointment. If I´m not on the right place at the wrong time, I´m at the wrong place at the right time! Therefore I decided that today I´ll write a list over the things that makes me angry. Ready? I´m getting very very angry when;
- I wake up at 6:15 am and prepare myself to school at the wrong day.
- I´m at the wrong place for a very important appointment.
- people pretend they listen to whatever I´m saying, while they think about other stuff.
- people laugh at me because I´m a woman
- people gossip.
- people use me as a bin for there private matters. They tell me stuff, and I´m not allowed to do anything about it no matter how worried I get
- people try to tell me how to live my life.
- people blame me without knowing the facts.
- people get picky about insignificant things as where I put my feet or how I sit.
- children get used or abused.
- animals get mistreated.
- people lie.
- people try to hide the truth.
- people don´t keep their promises.
- youths don´t offer their seat to an elder person on the public transport.
- someone wakes me up in the middle of the night just to tell me they cannot sleep.
- people try to beat each other up.
- the computer does something else than I´m asking it to do.
- … and the list could go on and on and on.
This kind of writing exercise, I call it The List of Anger, can be useful when creating characters and plots in any kind of creative writing. It can also be altered, you can actually write a list over as many things as you want; happiness, anxiety, tiredness, sickness, memories, all your old boy- or girlfriends, your wishes, your fears, dreams, fantasies, inabilities, possibilities, experiences, read books, injuries and foods you like. Chose any item and write a list. If you keep on doing this list to empty yourself of all these things that makes you angry for example you will soon see
- a thread. What is more common than other stuff in your list? With who do you get more angry, yourself or others? About what? People usually get angry about certain things, in that way their behavior can be predicted at least to some point.
- some things that differs from the other. Is there anything that doesn´t correlate with the rest? How can someone who hates gossip get angry when people try to hide the truth? Hiding the truth is something else than lying.
- ideas to a plot. What kind of trigger points would be interesting to smash together by letting two different people meet? For example look at my list. What would happen if I let one character who gets angry when people get picky over insignificant things have an argument with someone who gets angry when youths don´t offer their seat to elder people? Who decides what´s insignificant?
- ideas to create a personality for one of your characters. Is your character introvert or extrovert? What makes him/her more angry – is it what other people do, or what he/she does wrong? This can also put some more fuel into the plot. If a very extrovert person has a conflict with another extrovert person the argument can get even bigger and more devastating than otherwise.
I believe that the list as a writing exercise could be used a lot more, because it has a lot of substance to give your characters, your plots and your stories. It can also be a great way to soften up if you don’t know where to start or if you´re having a writer´s cramp. I suggest that you go back to writing a list often.