What’s in Your Writer’s Toolbox?

writer's-toolboxI first became aware of the concept of a writer’s toolbox when I read Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. The concept is simple really as King compares it to his Uncle Oren’s work toolbox which was large and very heavy.

King uses the concept as a metaphor to describe what every writer should bring to the task of writing on a daily basis.

Just as a carpenter or mechanic needs certain tools to do a job effectively, a writer also needs certain tools to be the best writer s/he can be.

King discusses things like a writer needing to write as often as possible and read other authors’ writing as often as possible.

He recommends the The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White for improving one’s use of grammar, spelling, and punctuation. King’s writer’s toolbox also includes advice on these and other concepts:

• Dialogue
• Character development
• Character motivation
• Coherence
• Recurring elements
• Verb tense (use active not passive)

Below, I’m recommending some general tools and resources to put into your writer’s toolbox to help with the challenges you may face during your writing tasks when your mind goes blank, or you’re searching for that perfect name, or emotion, or phase.

General Tools and Resources

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is the first tool I recommend for your writer’s toolbox. King offers some of the best writing advice I’ve come across. He provides great details for the tools he recommends and gives great explanations. You’ll learn a lot about writing from this book, while being thorougly entertained. It’s a great read!

• An online Thesaurus for variety of words choices.

• A Name Generator for coming up with just the right name.

Google Images could be helpful to picture a person, building, or setting before describing it.

7-point Story Structure is a great video by author Dan Wells to help you develop your story the right way.

100 Words for facial expressions.

The Emotion Thesaurus for coming up with the perfect non-verbal reaction.

Evernote is a free tool to keep track of your writing notes. You can sync with all your devices so if you come up with an idea while out, you can type it in your phone and then access it on your computer later on.

National Novel Writers Month is a great way to get motivated to write your next book.

The Idea Factory: 1,000 Story Ideas and Writing Prompts to Find Your Next Bestseller

These 1,000 prompts are designed to give you the combination of the idea itself, as well as concepts to help you create your own.

Hey, if you like any of these tools let me know. Also feel free to drop me a line and share some of your favorite tools in your writer’s tool box.

Thanks!

Catherine

Sources: ryanlanz.com A Writer’s Path & storyhouse.org/dalef18.html

4 thoughts on “What’s in Your Writer’s Toolbox?

  1. I’ve found that the name generator is a big help for staying authentic to your characters and time lines. When I find really unique names I record them in my writing journal for future use. I’m old fashioned so I still like tangible items to flip thru and write out as opposed to electronic devises.

    • The right name for a character is as important as the way they walk or talk. If his/her name doesn’t fit their ethnicity, their socio-economic status, education level, and sometimes their role in the story, authenticity is lost. Great feedback! Thanks so much!

      Catherine

  2. A Thesaurus is in my toolbox, I use it for a variety of words, it helps me avoid the over use of the same words. I use an exercise of writing consistently for 5 – 10 minutes, although the process should be longer, once I have completed writing whatever I am thinking (errors included), I review, revise and correct. I will use the links you have shared in my toolbox collection 😊 To further improve my storytelling/writings.

    • Hi Maggie!

      I’m glad you found some of my tools useful in helping with your storytelling/writings. The Thesaurus is a “must have” in any writer’s toolbox I believe. It certainly has helped me in countless situations. If you have tool(s) in your toolbox that you think writers might benefit from, please share!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Catherine

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