Monday, June 16, 2008


I have a list on my whiteboard, left over from the days I decided to stop writing and just let the air in. It is a list of things that remind me of the mood I'm trying to evoke in my novel. Here it is:

sailor tattoos
circus freaks
Nick Cave ballads
Be Good Tanyas
Johnny Cash
Long Black Veil
Gothic novels
cabinets of curiosities
memento mori
Renee-Louise Carafice (added August 7)

Out of these things a novel has risen. I recommend the exercise. If anyone else cares to share a similar list, please do.


Anonymous said...

Your list makes me think "I HAVE to read this book" I list of things I love and intrigue me

Anonymous said...

You should read The Totem Hole Rachael ... apparently it's as gothic as and i thought it was just authentic ...

Rachael King said...

I plan to Paul! Although when I write "Gothic novels" I mean more in the traditional sense, that is, 18th & 19th century Gothic. But I'm still going to read yours (I've heard it is also hilarious).

Anonymous said...

That is a sexy list Rachael, already has me intrigued.
Here is my list of the novel nearing its end:

The Old Testament
Old Theatres
Wedding dresses
Birds, Birds, Birds

let that air roll in...

Roger Morris said...

I like your list, Rachael. I have a white board too. And pinned to it is a piece of tracing paper with my list scrawled on it. It's much longer than yours, so here's a cut down version:

Glowing fires, embers, jewels
Veils, curtains, laces, muslin, powder
Theatre, scrim, curtain, make-up, grease-paint
chemical reactions
layers, patinae
mirrors, dazzling reflections
chalk on black board
slate - stylus
red silk
hair dye

I call this my 'visual structure'

Anonymous said...

What a great idea. I do have lists, but they're all very practical and functional, not this kind of thing freewheeling free associating thing. It would also be a way to use up some new-novel energy, because I can't start it properly yet, but it's being ever so insistent.

And yes, it does sound like a cool book.

Rachael King said...

Love all the other lists so far - all sound like books I want to read. And Emma - I think it would be a great way to keep the new novel alive while it swirls around in your head. If you manage to make one and feel like sharing, please do!

Rachael King said...

I should add that the list in my head has grown - the 'visual structure' if you will - but this list was what I began with when I was trying to imagine what kind of story I wanted to tell.

Jenn said...

I love lists. I don't have a white board but I do have a blackboard and a bowl of chalk. And I am working on a novel. The words on the blackboard for the novel are:

tentacles as long as a bus
dark black ice
salt in cardboard tubes
roasting tin of ice
a caravan sinking into the ground
this kissing was one more way of hurting her
a squid in a refrigerated lorry
green screen of old mobile phones
peach couch with flounces
a car that smells like chips

I am glad I found your blog.

Anonymous said...

Nick Cave, yay! I hope that includes Into My Arms & the Brompton Oratory & The Ship Song (great soppy sack that I am).

I love this exercise. It's new to me. Thanks.

Rachael King said...

Jenn - I'm gald you found it too! Welcome. That is some kooky list. i love it.

Susan - oh yes it sure does. Love ballads and murder ballads, and maybe the two mixed together.

Vanda Symon said...

I like Roger's naming it 'visual structure.'

I haven't written lists like this to remind of the mood in the past, but will now - its a great idea. I'll have to have a wine, and a think and write a list for the current novel.

I have used mind maps to work on plot and sub-plot and how character's lives and actions intersect. They're really useful.

Dr Ian Hocking said...

Hi Rachel

Great idea! I've copied it over at my blog:

Best of luck with your book.


Mary McCallum said...

Hi Rachael, you've inspired/provoked me to write a list too. I am on the cusp of returning to Precarious when I have finished marking for the creative writing course and am over the pre-Montana publicity circuit and fixed a few things around here and... No, I really will. And the list has helped. It's only a preliminary list you understand but nevertheless it's a start. A useful one. And your generous tip has helped. Thank you.