Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Resources and Tools for Writing

What helps us to be better writers?

As writers we know the importance of resources and tools. The computer has allowed us to write more efficiently and quickly, and without it, most of us wouldn’t have written nearly as much as we have. I wrote my first stories on a red Big Chief tablet with a pencil as round as my little finger. It had an eraser I used a lot.

Then came the manual typewriter without correction tape. Revision and editing was a real pain and consumed way too much time as I had to start over so many times. My first electric typewriter had the correction tape and helped with typos, but didn’t help with revisions and editing. I still had to start over.

Today we can cut and paste, use the “track changes” feature and hunt and replace for errors. We even have spell check to help with spellings and grammar check that isn’t always reliable, but better than having to look up so much stuff. Editing and revision is no longer a pain although it still takes time to get it right.

In addition to the internet for research, we have instant contact with editors, agents and publishers. We can send our manuscripts electronically instead of through regular mail which saves time and money. What formerly took hours and even days to accomplish can now be done in a few minutes.

We also have more resources today. My library includes books on writing by Brandilyn Collins, Getting into Character; James Scott Bell, Plot and Stucture; Sol Stein, Stein on Writing; Rennie Browne and Dave King, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers; Donald Maas, Writing the Breakout Novel; Marlene Bagnull, Write His Answer; and Ron Benrey, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing Christian Fiction. These and many others are among those on my bookshelves that help me improve my writing.

We all have our favorite tools, books, writing places, and rituals that help on this writer’s journey, but the greatest resource is the One who gave us life and gives us our hope for eternity. Time spent with the Lord is time invested in finding His will for our lives and the direction for our writing.

So what is your favorite tool or resource? What helps you get started or motivates you to write? Answer these questions and enter your name for a free copy of my June release, Summer Dream. I will pick a winner May 4.  


Sue Harrison said...

One of the greatest problems I face as a writer is that middle-of-the-book panic - I can't get there from here. My greatest resource is prayer. God calms, assures, and inspires!

Warren said...

I like the Writer's Digest Sourcebook for Building Believable Characters by Marc McCutcheon. I use it a lot for naming characters and fleshing out their descriptions.

Martha W. Rogers said...

I like that one too, Warren. I use it a lot.

Susie, you're right on. Prayer is the best resource of all.

Vickie McDonough said...

God is the one who gives me the creativity to write and helps me during the hard times. Next, I'd have to say my greatest resource is the Internet. I love the ease of just typing in a topic and being able to find out little details that enhance my story.

As for books, my favorite one for creating 3-D characters is Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes.

Marilyn Turk said...

I pray daily for inspiration, direction and time-management. Then I look at my goals to see what I planned to do. My favorite resources include the ACFW 19th century historical fiction writers loop, James Scott Bell's "The Art of War for Writers," Jerry Jenkins "Writing for the Soul,", and google.

Ann Lee Miller said...

I have most of the same books on my shelves. :) A couple you didn't mention that I loved were Donald Maass' The Fire In Fiction, and Jack Bickham's Scene And Structure.

Martha W. Rogers said...

Both of those are good ones, Ann. Thanks for sharing, and for being the winner of the book. It'll be sent to you as soon as my author copies come in.