Book Review: Master List for Writers by Bryn Donovan

Book Review: Master List for Writers by Bryn Donovan
January 20, 2018 No Comments » Book Reviews Stephanie Ayers

Author: Bryn Donovan
Title: Master List for Writers
Genre: Non-fiction/reference
Amazon rating: 4.7 stars

Reviewer: Nancy Miller

Master List jBlurb:

Write faster…write more! Master Lists for Writers makes “show, don’t tell” a lot 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, and workplace stories • lists of words for writing action scenes and love scenes • inspiration for figuring out character traits and quirks, backstories, occupations, motivations, and goals • lists for describing settings and writing dialogue • lists of good character names for contemporary stories…plus medieval England, Regency England, Wild West, and WWII settings • and more! Whether you’re writing novels or short fiction, screenwriting, or any other kind of storytelling, Master Lists for Writers is a rich source of inspiration you’ll turn to again and again. This book contains adult language.


I will admit I have not read every word of Master List: Thesauruses, Plots, Character Traits, Names and More.   That is because there are so many examples and ideas I end up being hooked into one and my head explodes with possibilities.  I have to remind myself I already have three projects going but…but…ARRRGH, the frustration. This book can be used not only as reference during a story but as the spark to start one.

The lists run the gamut from Description, Setting, Plotting, Action, Dialogue, Character Names and Traits.  Each section is broken down further into subcategories to make it easier to find what you are looking for.  Emotional Descriptions encompasses Desire, Anger, Fear, Disgust, Shame, Sadness, and Joy with numerous examples for each.  

There was extensive research and creativity invested in this book.  Topics like 25 positive character traits that can also be negative, 25 Plot Points That Crack People Up, 50 Actions That Show Animosity are just three of the categories that perked my interest.  The 100 Character Quirks is entertaining, yet oh so relatable.

My only complaint?  I want more.  More categories. More examples. And I’m pretty sure we will get them.  I wouldn’t doubt that a volume two is in the works.  Until then, Bryn Donovan provides more information and advice on her blog where she includes a Master List of Gestures and Body Language.

But the one list you have to read and believe is 10 Reasons Why You Should Write That Story. You have to be the one to commit and put the words down.   Master List For Writers will help.

On her blog: Master Lists of Gestures and Body Language.     

Stephanie Ayers Stephanie Ayers is the CEO of Our Write Side and a co-founder, graphic designer, editor, and proofreader for OWS Ink. A full-time world-building ninja, she is a seven-time published author and part-time freelancer from central Virginia, crafting her own story and resisting growing up at all costs. She mothers her children, loves her husband, attends church, writes, and avoids all things zombies.

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