Creating: Writing Tools

Monday has always been a writing-focused day. I never want Mondays to be a how-to. I feel this is so important that I repeat it every once in a while. Each of us is unique. I've said this before, but anytime I write about what works for me, please don't ever be dismayed if my way makes you want to pull out your hair.

Sure we all know the overall guidelines, no matter what we write. How we achieve them is personal to each of us. This is why my Monday posts are often connected to writing by a thread thinner than a hair. More to give you ideas to think about that to suggest how to do anything specific. There are a million places on the web to find those things.

Whew. I feel better now :)

So today I want to talk about writing tools. Pen, pencil, paper, computer. Done.

Not so fast.

A lot of you lately have been chatting about getting some of your best ideas in the shower - with no way to write them down. But there is! Check this link. You can also find different brands at Amazon.

I've recently completed a massive edit, the details of which would bore you to tears and take a year of blog posts to place in full perspective. In the process I found an amazing tool - thanks to one of my critique partners - probably already known to most of you since I'm usually late to the party ... AutoCrit.

The final stages of an edit, when you're really looking at words and phrases and sentences, is the part that drives me straight around the bend at warp speed. AutoCrit saved my sanity. Is it perfect? No. Is it free? No. But it's as perfect as I need. And it's an excellent value. I HEART AutoCrit.

Imagination. It's magic. It's inspired. It's the stuff fiction is made of. It's a tool we all use. We need to keep it well-fed, let it play, make it work out even when it wants to be lazy. And make sure that it knows how to respond at moment's notice ... zero to sixty in .05 seconds. Yeah, that's the imagination we want to preserve.

These are certainly not all the tools in a writer's armory, but I hope there's one here that will appeal to you.

What are your favorite tools?


Hi Carol, CUTE! Love the reminder.

I love AutoCrit. I don't know if you know this, but if you're a Premium member of Savvy Authors ( you have access to AutoCrit as well as a multitude of other awesome tools and benefits. For instance the month of July - for premium members only) there are pitch appointments available online to agents and editors FOR FREE.

Anyway, thought I would pass that along. I like to print my books out and edit wtih a red pen. Makes me feel all special lol

have a great week!
Clarissa Draper said…
I have used autocrit and you're right, it's a great tool. But, waterproof paper? How cool is that! Thanks for the post.
Joanne said…
I've got a couple. Each project has its own journal to jot notes and ideas in. And now, my eReader. You can put your manuscript on it as a pdf document and read it that way for a different view of the work.
Janet, said…
I think imagination is one of a writer's best tools. Without it how would we come up with all our fabulous ideas. Well, I am behind the times, too, I have never heard of AutoCrit.
Terry Odell said…
I use foam core boards and post its. Lots of them. And I totally agree that autocrit is worth the Savvy Authors membership. It's a great tool for making you look at your manuscript with a more critical eye.

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery
BECKY said…
Hi Carol. Wonderful suggestions! I've never heard of AutoCrit, either. Not sure if it would work for me since I'm writing memoir. The waterproof paper and pens are a riot!! Thanks for sharing!!
I'll have to check out AutoCrit.
Hart Johnson said…
Oh, YAY for waterproof stuff! I am pretty good about keeping my ordinary notebooks dry, and I can USUALLY get as far as getting out of the shower to get my ideas down, but when I power walk I'd love to have a little notebook with me--that is a lot longer to have to remember, and often I am in rain or am sweaty... very nice solution.

AutoCrit sounds pretty cool. I will have to think about that option.
LR said…
Wow autocrit is neat. Just tried it out with a piece of text. Of course not everything it finds is "wrong" but it helps you see repetitions clearly. Cool.
Carol Kilgore said…
Bonnie - I'm a Savvy Author member :) However, I prefer AutoCrit to the one Savvy Authors uses. A matter of personal preference. I edit on hard copy, too.

Clarissa - Who knows what they'll come up with next :)

Joanne - I don't have an ereader yet, but I will one day. It's good to know. I don't have a journal for each project, but I do keep a binder.

Janet - Mine usually works overtime. Give AutoCrit a try. It will do short bits for free.

Terry - I've tried post-its and note cards. For me they work so-so.
Carol Kilgore said…
Becky - AutoCrit works for any kind of writing. It starts off by showing you overused words and goes on from there.

Alex - Do check it out. It's a learning experience and a godsend for editing.

Hart - Try them all!

LR - Exactly!
notesfromnadir said…
Thanks for the link!
Talli Roland said…
I use Writer's Cafe - it's a planning software. I like that I can do timelines.
Anonymous said…
I STILL need to check out auto-crit. Love the link! ;)
Carol Kilgore said…
Lisa - You're welcome :)

Talli - Writer's Cafe is new to me. I'll take a peek!

Laura - Do it!
Lydia K said…
I've never used Autocrit, but I may have to now!
VR Barkowski said…
Two great links! Looking forward to trying AutoCrit. I already take extra showers for inspiration, waterproof paper is only going to add to my water bill. :)

My favorite tool is Scrivener. It allows me to outline, cork board, do context searches, store & retrieve research in every form imaginable. It also provides word frequency reports, and stores consultable snapshots of mss drafts. Best part? It does all this without ever requiring me to open a 2nd program or window. Wouldn't write without it.
Carol Kilgore said…
Lydia - Check it out.

VR - Oops! Lots of people love Scrivener. I tried the beta for PC, but found it slow and clunky. Maybe it was the beta part.
Other than spell check and an on-line thesaurus, I don't use any tools. The last one you wrote about intrigues me, so I'm going to check it out.

When I get an idea in the shower, I just repeat it in my head until I get out. The middle-of-the-night ideas are harder. But if I don't get up, I'll lose the thought!
Anonymous said…
I bookmarked Autocrit. Thanks for sharing it.

I use Excel for outlines.

Other than that, I love multi-colored gel pens for hard copy edits.
Jayne said…
Is that waterproof paper also mold proof? Good stuff here, all of the products new to me! :)
Carol Kilgore said…
Theresa - I keep index cards and pencils on my nightstand.

Medeia - I'm using Excel on my current project, too.

Jayne - I don't know. Check it out and let us know!
Glynis Jolly said…
Both of your suggestions are fantastic. I even emailed the autocrit link to my daughter. Thank you, Carol.
Arlee Bird said…
Uh, I'm thinking that some people are taking awfully long showers. What about water conservation?

If I'm not writing on the computer, a good old legal pad or composition book and a pen are my favorites.

Now to check Autocrit.

Tossing It Out
Carol Kilgore said…
Glynis - AutoCrit makes you work :)

Arlee - Dunno. Takes a long time to wash shampoo out of your hair with some of those really low-flow shower heads, though.