Writing Tools I Use

Why did I abandon mechanical pencils for pens? pen and notes

When I first started writing, I had a thing for mechanical pencils (only the .5mm ones… I was a purist). And I learned to print very small, to cram all the words I could onto a bit of scrap paper.

Perhaps you’ve figured out why I don’t do that anymore… something about trying to see those faint pencil-scratchings while using both hands to type what I’ve written.

Miniscule pen-scratchings, however, are still visible, progressive lenses notwithstanding.

These days, even my first draft is usually done at the keyboard, but devotional notes often come during my morning quiet time with God, and sometimes I write reviews or other blog posts in waiting rooms and such.

On to today’s post: Writing tools. Not resources, because that’s a different post altogether.

Fiction tools, to be specific, because I need more of those.

  • Pen and paper. I don’t leave home without it 🙂
  • Computer, printer, internet, email, Google etc. And backup. Flash drives, dvds, Dropbox for off-site storage.
  • How to Find Your Story and Character Creation for the Plot-First Novelist, both from Jeff Gerke. These are interactive worksheets, so I call them tools instead of resources. I bought them together in the Writer’s Foundation Bundle. What I like about these is they walk me through the discovery process and help me think deeper than I might otherwise go.
  • Microsoft OneNote. Those closest to me have heard me rave about the features of this amazing product. I have a OneNote “binder” for online writing and one for each of my novels including the works-in-progress.
  • Scrivener. I’m new to this tool, using it as I revise Secrets and Lies, but as soon as I saw the first video tutorial I was a fan. (Find Scrivener here)
  • Microsoft Excel. I confess I forgot this one until I read NJ Lindquist’s post on writing tools. I don’t use Excel a lot, but as well as keeping track of writing expenses and income for Revenue Canada, I keep a master list of character names in an Excel file. I can sort by first name, last name and by story. That saves me from having too many names beginning with the same letter. Doesn’t help with the more subtle similarities… part of my revisions to Secrets and Lies will be the re-naming of a few individuals. At present there are characters named Hill, Stairs, LaMontagne (the mountain) and Cliff. Wonder what my subconscious was up to with all that!
  • binder and highlighted textHighlighters, pens and binder. Margie Lawson’s online course, Empowering Character Emotions, taught me the basics of her EDITS system, so when it’s final-draft time I print the manuscript and colour-code it to see what still needs work.
  • A program called Klok (I use the free version) that lets me track my time. It helps keep me accountable to actually work, and it lets me see where I’m putting my time. (Find Klok here)

pry bar
These are the tools I use. If you’re a writer, what about you?

Bonus tool: my absolute favourite non-writerly tool, which I am now honour-bound to include in a novel (and I think I know where… she rubs her hands and cackles with glee) → → →

Reader or writer, if you’re interested in writerly tools, click the blog hop image and you’ll find other posts on the same topic.

Blog hop for writers

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