Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My writing tools (or lack thereof...)

This is the 2nd post in the Writer's Blog Hop. Today were supposed to talk about the writing tools we use. I have to admit, I'm a little stumped on this one. I'm thinking...does my laptop count? What about coffee? Oh, and of course, I'll need the television to distract the kids.

 +  + 
= Writing (maybe)

When I'm actually writing, I don't use many specific tools. I don't know if I'd call myself a pantser, because I do plan out my plots beforehand, but I don't write out detailed outlines or anything like that. If anything, I just list ideas for scenes. Right now, this is the entirely of my notes for my current WIP:

Scenes (not necessarily in this order)
·      Emmy asks David, Patrick, and Xavier about the necklace.
·      "Let's dance." "There is no music." "There will be."
·      Thea's flashbacks? maybe

Yep, it's all very scientific. However, I am more likely to use tools during editing. Here are some of my favorites:

  • CTRL-F - Where would I be without you CTRL-F (although since I use a Mac, technically it's Command-F)? I use this during editing to sniff out to-be verbs, hesitation phrases, filler words, and more. I only wish I could use it to find accidental tense shifts, haven't found a quick fix for that.
  • My publisher's style guide - I hate this thing. It's this immense bible of writing rules. Tedious, annoying, details. But, hey, it's super helpful. It's a great place to start my edits and get rid of most common problems.
  • Beta readers & my editor - There really is no replacement for an experienced set of eyes on your MS. Sometimes I don't like hearing what they have to say, sometimes I think they're wrong, but more often than not, they catch important things that I would never have seen on my own.
  • Google - Sort of obvious I guess, but usually during my final editing pass (or earlier, depending on what it is), I go through my MS and Google anything and everything from the streets in a town look like, to how to take apart a gun, to what high school my characters would probably attend, just to make sure it all makes sense. I also use Google Maps (when working in the real world) to pinpoint where my scenes are taking place and how far it takes to get from one place to another.
  • A Timeline - My first book was an alternate history, so writing out an extensive timeline was important. However, I've realized how important it is for all books. It's so easy to make silly mistakes. I've found days that are way too long, and all sorts of other time passage problems. So now, I create a specific timeline for every chapter. For example, Chapter Five - March 2, 2014 (morning).
So, that's it! If you want to take part in this bloghop, put your link here.


  1. Sharon, thanks for sharing a bit about your writing process. I find it fascinating how each writer has things that work for them. We are all created unique :)

  2. Thanks for sharing Sharon! So interesting reading about how everyone works....!

  3. I love your timeline idea. So obvious, yet easily missed in eagerness to get going!

    Violet Nesdoly.

  4. CTRL-F - that's funny!
    Does music count as a writing tool? What about the television? Yes, I do write with the television on. No sound though. That would disrupt the music...

  5. Great to read these ideas i write non-fiction so this is fascinating for me.
    Janis www.janiscox.com

  6. Hi Sharon, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  7. Just joining the blog hop today, Sharon, and I waited to read most of the posts until I'd done my own. CTRL+F -- yes! Missed that one, but it's a must-have.

  8. Yah, the timeline is so important. I get frustrated reading books that don't start at the beginning and journey through to the end in sequence of time. Okay, so I'm boring. I can live with:)

  9. Gah! Coffee!! (totally just smacked myself in the forehead). How could I have forgotten one of the most important tools of all. I like the keeping-it-simple route too - nice to come across another kindred spirit.

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