Skip to content

The List & Twist Creativity Technique for New Writers

  • 2 min read

Copywriter Dan Nelken introduced this technique

Have you ever struggled with creating attention-grabbing headlines or introductions to your content?

If so, the “list and twist” technique might be just what you need!

Copywriter Dan Nelken came up with this technique. He’s the owner of the successful newsletter “A Self Help Guide for Creatives”.

His newsletters are short and sweet and packed with writing wisdom.

The list and twist for writers with examples

This writing strategy involves creating a list of 3 obvious things, with one surprising thing that doesn’t quite fit in with the others.

It’s a clever way to surprise and engage your readers by breaking up their expectations and providing an unexpected twist.

Why 3 items?

“It’s the least amount of items required to form a pattern, and patterns help our brains absorb information”, Dan Nelken explains.

👉 Ex. 1: Here’s an extreme example from writer and comedian Laura Kightlinger to get the idea:

“I can’t think of anything worse after a night of drinking than waking up next to someone and not being able to remember their name, or how you met, or why they’re dead.”

👉 Ex. 2: Let me give you another example:

Weekend Trip Packing List






Bathing suit

“War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy

Wait what? Why is this on a minimalistic packing list for a weekend trip?

Bottom Line

The key to using the list and twist technique effectively is to keep the list short and sweet (at least three items) and make sure the twist is surprising, unexpected, and relevant to your audience.

By using this technique, you can make your content more engaging and memorable for your readers.

Give it a try (in the comments) and see how it works for you!

For more inspir-ACTION join Kristina’s newsletter!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *