Monday, June 13, 2016

Tools Every Writer Needs—Open Book Blog Hop





What tools does it take to write a book? There's lots of goodies available for the beginner or experienced writer,with varying claims of how they can contribute to success, but what does a writer really need?

Many, many years ago, (I won't tell you how many,) I made my first attempt at writing a book. I even finished it. There's a copy of it stored in a box somewhere, but that's where it will stay. (It'd bad, folks, really bad.) I used the only tools I had available to me at the time- a pen and paper.



I don't remember how many words that book was, or how long it took me to write it. Or how long it took me to type it out on an old manual typewriter once I'd completed it. But by gosh, I wrote it.

The second book I wrote, many years later, I also wrote by hand. Same with the third. There was something about seeing the words spill out from the end of the pen that made me feel as if I was creating something worthwhile. Somewhere around the fourth book, I switched to typing into a word processing programming on a computer. It was different, looking at the words on a screen instead of on paper, but it was faster.

And editing was so much easier. Instead of scribbling in margins or over top of words on paper, all I had to do was delete a few letters and replace then with better words. Because editing is as much about writing as is writing a first draft.

There are several tools that every writer should have for editing. The first one is a dictionary. Misspelled words and words used incorrectly happen to the best of writers. A dictionary—either the old hard-bound type or one built into the word processing program—will help eradicate typos. Second is a rarely-used Thesaurus. A Thesaurus is great when a writer can't come up with just the right word, but it can be a crutch as well and should be used as a last resort.



There are various tools a writer can use for editing. There are sites on line that check grammar, word usage and punctuation. There are also pages where writers can post their work for other writers to critique. Two of these are ProWritingAid and CritiqueCircle. If a writer has access to an in-person critique group, that can be even better. Nothing like bouncing ideas off fellow writers to make improvements.

But there are a couple of tools that every writer should use that don't come in book for web page format. The first of these is perseverance. It takes a lot of work to write a story, no matter how short or long it is. It's one thing to put a few words down on paper and start writing a book, it's another to finish it.

And perhaps most important, is an active imagination. Mark Twain may have said that "substantially all ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside source" but that doesn't mean writers have to stop trying to find new ways to express those ideas. Someone had to be first to write a vampire romance novel, And although my idea of a sci-fi time- travel medieval romance may not have worked for me, other writers have done a much better job with it.

So there it is. My list of the tools a writer needs. Pretty darn basic, Now if the topic had been what I wanted it would have been a different story., To find out what tools other authors use, follow the links blow. And feel free to tell me about the tools you use in your writing in the comments.


June 13 Tools every writer needs
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1 comment:

  1. I love the thesaurus for editing. One thing I'm looking for when I edit is repetitive words. They jar me out of other writers' stories, so I want to eliminate them in mine. So when a word shows up for the second or third time in a paragraph ... or a sentence! ... I often go looking in the thesaurus for a better substitute. I have a huge vocabulary (largely gained from reading the thesaurus in earlier years), but there are still thousands of words I don't know or don't use often enough to call to mind readily.

    I like that you put perseverance into your toolkit. It's fine to dabble, to play with WIPs that will never see the light of day, but to be an author, you have to finish something eventually. And that is hard!

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