Friday, May 20, 2016

Let's Count ... What's in Your Toolbox?

A writer's toolbox is special. Think about it. A doctor has her medical bag. A teacher carries her briefcase of lesson plans, papers to grade, utensils, etc. A lawyer, an accountant, a carpenter, a plumber, and the list goes on forever -- all of them need tools. Right? Tools get the job done. 

A writer is no different. What's important to us may vary, but the tools are there to help us plan, create, write, edit, until we complete the WIP. I like my tools. I keep them close by and use them frequently. What are they? Well, let's take a look...

1) Laptop -- I used to write out stories longhand, then type them. Eventually, I decided going straight to the keyboard saved me time and made the changes a cinch to read! Okay, yes. I'll admit it. I can't help but edit as I write. Some say it interrupts the flow of the story. I say the story won't take one step further if I don't correct what I see as glaring errors!

2) Outline -- I'm a planner. Used to be a pantser. Planning keeps me from writing myself into a horrible, confusing corner that would take erasing several chapters and starting over at that point to fix. So, a detailed, chapter by chapter outline it is, resting next to my laptop!

3) Sticky Notes -- This is where I will sound a bit fanatical, but I use these for brief chapter notes. I know what you're thinking. I've already outlined, so isn't this redundant? Not exactly. It's true my outline is a lengthier version of my stickies. However, the most important reason for them is to help me keep track of my story timeline. On each one, I write a few words about the chapter and include the date. Then I stick them along the edge of my bookshelf where I can give them a quick glance when I'm trying to figure out how many days have passed since such and such event happened, or which event occurred in what chapter. 

4) Character List -- I like to reference my story's characters and their descriptions, especially the minor ones, which may sound illogical but these are the ones who may not appear that often in the story. Chances are I may forget their names! It happens in my world.

5) yWriters5 -- I use this software program because it's free. Yes, I'm thrifty, frugal, oh heck, I'm cheap. Otherwise I would be using Scrivener. In any case, whatever one chooses, a program where you can enter in all the fun stuff -- outline, summary, characters and their descriptions, etc. It helps a planner like me, or a pantser who needs reforming. lol

6) The Emotional Thesaurus by Ackerman & Puglisi -- Yes, I occasionally get stuck in the muck when choosing my words and expressions. I take a look through this reference for help now and again, though I do put my creative mind through a major workout to come up with my own ideas first! Can't let that brain muscle become lazy ;-) 

7) My writer's mug -- Actually, I have three now, but my favorite is this one. They're great for inspiration or just some comical relief. 

8) Writing Utensils -- I wouldn't be complete without these. I scribble across my outline all the time, in the margins, between the lines, anywhere I find white space. It's my obsession to change words and ideas constantly! 

9) Last but absolutely not least are the abstract essentials -- imagination, perseverance, confidence, and a thick alligator skin to protect against criticism, naysayers, and all around Debbie-downers. Who needs them? 

Okay, so those are my tools, what about yours? I'd love to hear. In the meantime, I'm going to be book blogging with Reading Addiction Book Tours starting in a little over a week from now. Hope you'll stop by some or all of the blogs hosting me. I'm even going to write a couple of guest posts! Should be a fun time :-) 

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