Today A Drift of Quills are looking at writerly things. We’re writers. It happens. I don’t know about you, but as a reader I love learning about how my favorite authors work and what they like to use. And read. And see. It makes them more whole in my mind’s eye (if that makes sense).

A Drift of Quills: Break Out the Toolbox and Write!

Today A Drift of Quills are looking at writerly things. We’re writers. It happens. We’re breaking out the ol’ writerly toolbox and taking a peek inside. I don’t know about you, but as a reader I love learning about how my favorite authors work and what they like to use. And read. And see. It makes them more whole in my mind’s eye (if that makes sense).

But I digress!

The question du jour is “what are our favorite ‘tools’ for writing”? And I quote, so the emphasis on “tools” got my mind dashing off on tangents. Read on to see where the three of us went on this expedition!

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

There are so incredibly many tools for a writer to use today. (Not like in the Old Days, when it was pen and paper, a set of encyclopedias if you were lucky, and the library!) What a wonderfully rich age we live in!

What are a few of my favorite things? Er… tools?

15-inch MacBook Pro 2016. #1 in my writerly toolbox!A computer revolutionized my writing, so I am going to put that as my #1 tool and try to avoid waxing poetic about my shiny new 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID and amAAAAAZING graphics. I love that I can take my laptop with me anywhere, and it usually accompanies me on vacations so I can still manage to squeeze in a little writing time.

My all-time favorite writing program is Scrivener. I’ve heard some writers complain about a steep learning curve, but I disagree. I’m sure there are a lot of functions I’m missing out on, but the app still makes it breathtakingly easy to be organized and efficient with my writing: outline, character sheets, research. I have everything about the story all in one easy-to-navigate document.

Well… I lie. My Series Bible for Sherakai’s stories is actually in another Scrivener project…

Scrivener for Microsoft Windows, macOS & iOS. #2 in my writerly toolbox!

But mentioning those is like putting the cart before the horse. Having the tools doesn’t help if I have no project on which to use them!

Kristie Kiessling, author and writing partner, wielding a weapon from the toolbox
She asked me, “Do you want a picture of me with a hammer?” So punny…

Two more “tools,” then, in no particular order:

1- My writing partner, Kristie. She’s just so darned good at coming up with “what if”
questions and inflicting chaos on characters. (Though I’d classify her as a resource rather than a tool. He he!) She makes an awfully good editor, too. (Go visit her on Facebook!)

She’s got a terrific sense of humor. Note the editing tool. And the book she arranged “just so” in the background. Love that gal!

2- Other stories. Excuse me for flagrantly tossing books, television, and movies into the same category, but they all serve equally—not just for relaxation and entertainment, but to inject ideas into the flow of creative juices.

Sounds messy! And contradictory!

Let me assure you, though, that I can easily relax and be entertained and still have an idea stick with me. What would Character X do in a situation like that? OOoo, what if the event I just watched happened in my book, but with a fantasy twist? What would that twist be? It’s too bad there are no motorcycles in Alshan. Ix-nay on the epic chase scene. But what if mages flew on brooms there?

My real problem is keeping the plot bunny population manageable. Still looking for an app for that.

P.S. BROADDUS

“P.S.Author of A Hero’s Curse (The Unseen Chronicles Book 1)
Parker’s website

Today our writing group asked about favorite writing tools. I puzzled over the question while I cleaned out my pockets for the day. Old notes, a to-do list, a pen, a tattered emergency twenty, and there—a tiny thumb drive.

That is probably my favorite tool as a writer. (Why’s that? Find out here!)

PATRICIA REDING

Patricia RedingAuthor of the Oathtaker Series
Patricia’s website

As I’m sure my fellow Quills have regaled you with their ready wit and humor, I will, for my part, dig in with the mundane. 🙂

Unlike some authors, I actually can imagine what it would have been like to write a piece of any length before the day of word processing programs, and the ability to find information through the Internet with a few simple keystrokes. You see, I did something of that nature when I wrote a law review article in my second year of law school… a while back… As I recall, it ran about 60 pages, to which was added another 25 or so in citations. Following the rules set out in The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, every comma, every semicolon, every space, had to be “just so.” (It takes a second book just to figure out how The Bluebook works.)  (Read more!)

Today A Drift of Quills are looking at writerly things. We’re writers. It happens. We're breaking out the ol' writerly toolbox and taking a peek inside. I don’t know about you, but as a reader I love learning about how my favorite authors work and what they like to use. And read. And see. It makes them more whole in my mind’s eye (if that makes sense).

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Whether you’re a reader or writer, what’s your favorite tool?

What would you like to see us talk about? Let us know in the comments below!

6 thoughts on “A Drift of Quills: Break Out the Toolbox and Write!

  1. Yes, Robin, I bet that MacBook Pro is great! Unfortunately, I’m not generally a laptop fan. I can, however, get some of the same convenience with my iPad and a bluetooth keyboard. So, there’s that. 🙂

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