Monday, January 31, 2011

Writing tools

Before I post, I want to point out the lovely new header at the top of the page. My friend Kristin made it for me, and I'm absolutely delighted by it. She is definitely my hero.

When I was in high school, the one piece of furniture I wanted was a writing desk. I planned to be an author; how could I do that without the "proper equipment"? I even contemplated quill and ink for a time, but reluctantly decided that a ballpoint pen was much more practical, especially given my messy handwriting. Fifteen years later, I still think the "proper equipment" is important to my writing career, though the definition of the term has changed slightly.

I bought a Kindle in November. No matter where you stand on the e-book debate, an e-reader is a powerful tool for a writer. When I started revising His Good Opinion, I emailed the file to my Kindle email account. Minutes later I was reading my own novel in crisp e-ink. I noted weak character elements and research questions, as well as the moments that really worked. Since the Kindle keeps track of what percentage of a book you've read, I know that I need to tighten up the first half of the story and add more detail to the back half if I want the pacing to feel right.

I could have done all this by printing out the document, but the Kindle saved paper and (frankly) was less intimidating. It's much easier to curl up with an e-reader than with a stack of loose paper, or worse yet a three ring binder. When I find critique partners and start juggling their manuscripts, the benefits will multiply.

The romantic in me still longs for that writing desk, and if I ever find one sturdy enough and big enough for my laptop and monitor, I'll consider it. For now, I'm curious to know what tools you use to write. Notepad? Scrivener? iPhone? List your favorites in the comments.