Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Writers need toys

(No, I don’t mean that kind of toy. Although we need those, too… but all right, that’s another blog.)

The point is, you are going to be working SO HARD for the next two months (and I hate to be the one to break it to you, but for the rest of your lives, as well…) So I really encourage you to splurge on a nice big beautiful notebook to brainstorm and outline ad write your novel in (outside the laptop, of course). We poor writers live so much in our heads it’s important to give ourselves toys and rewards to make the work feel less like work, and also to cut down on the drinking.

We start October Outline month tomorrow, so do it.

Go to an office or stationery store, or shop on line, and find yourself a wonderful notebook to work in, something worthy of this story you’re about to create.

And let us all know some of your favorite writing toys!


All the information on this blog and more, including full story structure breakdowns of various movies, is available in my Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workbooks.  Any format, just $3.99 and $2.99.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amaxon DE

Amazon FR

Amazon ES

Amazon IT

If you're a romance writer, or have a strong love plot or subplot in your novel or script, then Writing Love: Screenwriting Tricks II is an expanded version of the first workbook with a special emphasis on love stories.

Smashwords (includes online viewing and pdf file)

Amazon US

Barnes & Noble/Nook

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Unknown said...

Mindomo is a pretty sweet tool for brainstorming and organizing story ideas.

I use it as the first step for character building and outlining new story ideas.

They have a free, online version and a desktop version via subscription ($6/mo). Well worth it for creative folk.

Unknown said...

And... argh! How is it already October??

Barbara Martin said...

I use a chart to outline my stories that I discovered in an issue of Writer's Digest. Though I use a large spiral lined scribbler to write story sections in. Most times I don't start the story where I think the beginning will be. That I develop later, along with the ending.

Toys? I cannot afford software goodies for my laptop so I do without, and I refuse to download free stuff for fear of viruses. I have had nasty virus attacks before.

plastic.santa said...

What works for me (I have discovered through years of perfect notebook hunting) is a plastic clamshell clipboard made by Saunders. I can put scrap paper on the clipboard to write and pens and notecards and scraps of paper with scene or character notes inside until I can type it all into the laptop. Failing that, a legal pad. Fancy notebooks raise the stakes for me.

Unknown said...

Alexandra, thanks for your encouraging comment. I think I sound readier than I am. I am, in fact, very apprehensive. This feels like a huge risk exercise, and I'll be hanging on your every word, all through October. I have now bought a new covered clipboard (Purple. for Prose.) ;>)

Joanne Tombrakos said...

I always get a fresh notebook when I start a project. I am partial to those cheap, bound composition books with the black and white marble covers. Inside I record my ideas, my notes, and wander as I imagine the what ifs of my characters.
I am about to start the second draft of the novel I am working on. So it's time for a clean notebook.

Bobby Mangahas said...

Though a bit pricey, I have always loved the Moleskine notebooks.

And a really cool pen is always nice.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Wulf, what a great resource - a subscription brainstorming tool! Thank you!

(Arrgh is right, I'm with you.)

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Barbara - I don't use software because I love the more physical, concrete sensation of using things like cards and corkboards. The more I can be out of my head, the better for me.

A chart sounds intriguing, though.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

santa, I go through phases of using different colored clipboards for my different projects! Sometimes you just have to do all kinds of different things.

Whatever works!

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Same with those moleskin comp books! I've used those, too, Joanne. Trouble is, over the years they all start to look the same and I can never find my notes on old projects.

Now I get really pretty sketchbooks so that I am more able to find those particular notes.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

I know numerous people who are addicted to moleskine.

I still don't quite see the appeal.

Too modern-looking for my own aesthetic.

Sonja Foust said...

I'm going to go to the store tonight and find some fantastic spiral-bound notebook and probably a gel pen, too. I don't know why, but gel pens make me feel MUCH more creative.

Anonymous said...

I just learned how to outline using 60 index cards at a conference. It works and saves time, plus I like being able to reshuffle them at will.

Eveline said...

This year I got myself a cheap ringbound notebook with a few taps in it so I can divide it into 'word count' meaning the target and daily wordcount, 'notes' which means all the stuff that comes up while writing that needs to be fixed if I ever want to do anything with this story, 'brainstorming' where I outline the story and 'characters', where I keep track of silly things like colour of eyes and hair and quirks.

Jeanette Bennett said...

Here's a toy I use to get the juices flowing--a frame drum. I have a 10" portable one I made myself from a Kit from Centralia Fur & Hide. Nice people to work with. (No I'm not affliated with them.) Keep in mind the bigger the drum, or the thicker the hide, the deeper the tone. Elk is thicker than deer. I like the tone better. You can request elk hide (if they have it in stock.)

I bang on my drum a few minutes and I'm ready to go. Of course, it could just be a genetic thing. (I'm Irish & Cherokee.)

Elaine Sokoloff said...

Sonja, I completely agree about gel pens! I love pens in pretty colors for editing, too.

They've got great psychedelic spiral bound notebooks these days.

Elaine Sokoloff said...

Sandra, I wouldn't recommend hanging on my every word, but writing is ALWAYS scary, and it just helps to know other people are out there working along with you.

You'll be great!

Elaine Sokoloff said...

Hey Margaret! Can't live without my index cards.

Elaine Sokoloff said...

Sorry everyone - I seem to be posting as my sister! We're road tripping this week and apparently have already merged identities.


Elaine Sokoloff said...

Evaline, you are obviously much more organized than I am.

I like the three divisions you're doing.

Elaine Sokoloff said...

Jeanette, how great to see you!

I am not surprised at all about the drum. ;)

Chris said...

I LOVE the mindmapping software --what a great idea!! and, I saw some other free software that looked interesting over at Murderati the other day as well --but I have a question about online applications for writing original work --- I know a best selling author who refuses to even work on a computer which has internet access when she's writing one of her books, as she's afraid of being hacked.

Is this concern warranted? or is she being overly cautious?

thanks for your thoughts!