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Master Lists for Writers: Thesauruses, Plots, Character Traits, Names, and More

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  594 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Get inspired...stay inspired.
Write faster...write more!

MASTER LISTS FOR WRITERS makes “show, don’t tell” much easier and helps you figure out your story more quickly. In this book, you’ll find:

• lists of phrases for describing facial expressions, body language, gestures, physical appearance, and emotions
• 175 master plot ideas, including romance, high-stakes, family,
Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published October 26th 2015 by Munds Park Publishing (first published October 14th 2015)
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Average rating 4.23  · 
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Amazon Rain
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing

This is on my to recommend pile, as the part thesaurus and baby name. As writers have the struggle of how to describe someone's face or hair color.  Or for example naming of characters is something that many authors negotiate the issues in this while working on a novel. You find the above and descriptions of body language and facial expressions, settings, and plots for when the writer's block hits.   

I have this in E-book format and in paperback and I refer to it a lot. When creating my own wor
Savannah Hendricks
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I forgot to review this back when I got it. Yikes. So, I found this book perfect for writers at any stage of their manuscript. Helpful lists when you need to "get unstuck" in any part of your story (big or small). ...more
Nov 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I cannot recommend this writing resource enough. I've been using the lists from ever since I discovered them on Pinterest (seriously search NaNoWriMo and it's almost all Donovan's lists).

I'm in the process of completing two manuscripts and I am constantly reaching for the right word or trying to fix a repetitive gesture (like hand holding and shrugging), and now I just pick up this book. I can't wait to use it as I'm story boarding my next book. It's just straightforward and eas
Vania Rheault
Mar 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing. It is a such a great resource; I always have it at the ready whenever I sit down for a writing session. I received it from a friend and I will absolutely pay it forward and buy it for my writer friends in return.

Even my daughter said, "This is a great book, I love all the names in it!"
A.M. Bochnak
May 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
I could've passed on this one. It should have been titled "Master Lists for Romance Writers" And I hate romance novels... ...more
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
A useful tool for writing--in moderation. Overuse of the phrases compiled in this book would generate a cliched, hackneyed, formulaic feel to your prose.
Jean Roberts
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book with lists for writers. Kept it by my side while writing my books.
Mikey B.
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Bryn Donovan — you’re the best. 
Each novella I write, I open this book. It has helped me in so many ways. I struggle so much with gestures, and each time I do, I open your book on my kindle, and scan through until I find the proper expression for the mood. 
I love how you separated them by emotions. 
I hope you can come up with another, cause I’ve played these out. :) Thank you for putting your brain to work to help others. I appreciate your hard work and the time you put into writing this to help
Dianna Winget
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love this book and found it more helpful than I expected. I especially like the sections on expressions, gestures and phrases. Sometimes it's the small physical descriptions I find most difficult to word or portray, and I keep turning to this book again and again. A new favorite! ...more
Haley S
I got this for Christmas and LOVE it!! There are so many good sections in here!!! I especially like the list of names from each era!! And the list of querks!! Seriously! EEverything is so cool!
Apr 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
A good solid resource that provided well-organized places to start the thought process going.
Marc Royston
Sep 24, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: writing, reference
I don't see this as a terribly useful reference. Its one of those books a writer puts on their shelf and forgets about ... before or after reading. ...more
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: writers
I have been putting Master Lists for Writers through its paces since I got it and it has not failed me yet. Every time I flip to a section, I’m amazed at the effort and meticulous attention that was put into compiling it. Bryn has done us all an enormous favor by gathering all of this into one book, and I think you’ll agree.

Bryn Donovan has crafted a spectacularly helpful collection of plot ideas, names, character traits and backstory ideas, and even tips on “showing not telling” – in addition t
E.A. Copen
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever had a word/phrase on the tip of your tongue but just couldn't remember it? Do you find yourself over-using certain phrases or words and you're looking for a way to expand how you write/describe things? This book is for you.
I'm a voracious reader and an author of several books. When I read, I keep a diary of phrases and words I think are interesting and fun or that I just want to remember later. I'm a list maker by nature, but my lists aren't as organized as this is. This saves me a
Claire Swain
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am currently reading the following books: '5,000 Writing Prompts - A Master List Of Plot Ideas, Creative Exercises, And More. + 'Master Lists For Writers - Therasuses, Plots, Character Traits, Names, And More' both books are by Bryn Donovan.

These books are non fiction.

Both of these books are packed full of advice and Ideas. There are creative writing exercises to support writer's block.
Also, there are many Ideas to support a writer to find plots and subplots for their next novel. In addition
Timothy Bateson
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic resource for all writers

Wether you’re writing fiction, or non-fiction, as writers we tell stories, and this book makes that job just a little easier.
I’m often looking for ideas, and this book covers a lot of ground, from story ideas and character names to lists of words for particular situations.
The sections are well thought out, and provide an easy reference guide for those looking for something in particular.
I recommend every writer picking up a copy of this book, regardl
Emily Yager
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing-editing
This is a handy resource book to keep. While I would use it more for inspiration or for writing exercises as one wouldn't want to over use it. It offers lots of things to think about and consider when working on your project (or your next project). Lots of ideas to help when plotting a new story or to help with writers block. All the various and interesting lists makes this a very useful book.

One thing I must note is that this book does contain some mature content, so a bit of caution for young
Dex Vaughn
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I constantly reference this book to refine my writing and massage my sentences into optimal conveyance. This book contains he said, she said, replacements, plot archetypes, strong subtle word replacements, and believable character behaviors to integrate when in a blank for minor characters. Extending beyond the practice of novel writing, this book can help in the efforts to create an immersive D&D campaign, spin an elaborate yarn over the camp fire, or even conjure powerful visually descriptive ...more
April Woodard
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is an absolute must to have in your writing craft library!
So thankful that Bryn wrote this!
I know exactly how people look then they feel emotion (I'm big into movies)
but i just don't know how to describe it!
Now when I get hung up with revising my manuscript I can just look at these wonderful lists.

Sedona Hutton
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love, love, love this resource! This guide provides countless lists for writers including: Descriptions, settings, plotting, dialogue ideas, character traits, etc. I use this tool regularly to stimulate my creativity! I also love the ending "10 reasons why you should write this book." I read that section whenever I need motivation. Thanks Bryan Donovan for this great resource! ...more
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Useful resource

There is a lot of useful information here. Some of it I will use more than others, but some people might find things that weren't as relevant for me, relevant for them. Art any rate, the information was presented in an easy to read format. I will refer back to this book while doing my own writing.
Jun 12, 2021 rated it did not like it
I was curious what could be the use for such a book. But after skimming through it, I fail to see any. It's awfully basic. One is sure to find deeper and more creative ideas googling.

Wait! She's an editor? These are the kinds of things editors expect to see in a book? No wonder writers choose to self-publish.
I loved this book and use if for reference often. It's a great tool to spark ideas, especially when you are too much in your own head and need some quick ideas you may not have considered on your own. ...more
Ashley L Stout
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very good book with TONS of different types of lists for thinking more deeply about your characters, settings, plots, etc.

Happy I bought this book to help me revise my novel- can see myself using it again in the future!
Cheryl Basile
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Helpful for brainstorming

This book is a great resource for writers who like to do extensive plotting before and while they write. So many ideas for plots, character quirks, scenes and more!
Célia Dias
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is really a treasure for those who write. Not only the prompts are actually captivating and "inspiration-charged" but the book is also very well organized and it's easy to read and go back to pick on favorite prompts. I truly advise writers to check out this book. It truly helps! ...more
Peggy Miller
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great resource!

This book provides the writer with a wealth of information on many different but important lists. It has proven super helpful to me as a writer. Thank you, must read and get for writers.
Susan Stewart
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
This is such a great resource for writers struggling to find just the right word or the perfect way to describe something. It's a reference I return to time and time again. ...more
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great resource for writers. Bryn's exhaustive collection of lists is wonderful writing heuristic. ...more
Erin McKnight
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As a first time novelist that is still finding their voice, I cannot tell you how greatful I am for this book. It has literally saved my bacon more times than I can count.
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I'm an author, blogger, and optimist who lives in Chicago. In my day job, I'm the executive editor for Hallmark Publishing. ...more

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