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The Writers

It might surprise you that not all successful authors are wordsmiths.  So how do they turn out one bestseller after another?  I submit to you, a writer’s toolbox.  I'll share with you my list of tools with a free download and later, I'll share with you some great information from some author friends to help you build your own writers tool box.  
Most common among authors is pen and paper or some device that lets you record your thoughts and ideas, but let's get beyond the basic and obvious, shall we?   
In My Growing Toolbox, I have what I call cheat sheets.  They include, character profiles, novel and scene outlines, a vision board - we will talk about this tool later, note pad and pen, camera and some other things.  This one is not in the download but I like to use Windows 7 version of One Note along with the Windows 10 version.  At the end of this article is a link to additional online resources.  
I can't fit Theresa, Dean or Farloft, or the rest in my toolbox (wish I could) but they also are a part of my toolbox.  I have read snippets from these authors and it inspires a new way for me.  So I encourage you to get involved with a group (hint hint: Twitter community of authors and writers is the best anywhere) that will inspire and motivate you to completing that book you've been wanting to write. 
So, that's what's in my tool box.  Here's a look at what these authors have in theirs.  And you can bet I'll be adding these to my tool box, too.

Kari Nichols is author of Rogue and Ghost; the first two installments of The Plagued Trilogy.  Kari has also authored a small collection of shorts in her book Dysfunctional Life.  Those are moving and very touching.  When I went to Kari about writing this article and asked her what's in her toolbox, she replied, "What a great article! I actually have an app on my phone called "writer"....I find that much of my inspiration comes when I'm out in public/on a subway or in bed right before I go to sleep. The writer app allows me to jot down my ideas or stories without needing a pen & paper if I'm in public or without having to turn on a light and wake up my husband when I'm in bed! Super convenient!" Kari
If you have windows 10, you can download this free app on your pc or laptop. 
Follow Kari on Twitter: @thekarinichols


Dean M. Cole, author of award-winning present-day sci-fi novel,
Sector 64: Ambush and sequel Sector 64: Retribution {hint: this series delivers on action and more} has a supremely brilliant tool. 
You will want to pay attention to this one for sure.  I'm especially grateful for Dean taking time out of his very busy schedule to offer you this:
"Once you have polished a scene, use your device's text to speech feature to have the computer read your prose aloud. Unlike your lying eyes, it will not gloss over missing text, but it will highlight clunky sentences and overly used words. Once it all sounds correct, copy and paste the whole thing into a high-quality grammar checker. (Note: if you're not paying for said grammar checker, it probably isn't high-quality.)" Dean
Dean suggests brilliant! 
Thank you Dean.  Follow Dean on Twitter: @deanmcole.


Iona Morrison, sweetheart of the writing rodeo, has several books out in her Blue  Cove series including The Harvest Club and Not For Sale. 
Readers find it difficult to put her books down. 
Uhmm.  I went to Iona to find out what's in her toolbox.  Here's what she has to say.
"Actually I drew a map of my town, placed buildings, and named the restaurants etc. so that I would have a clear picture of the town I created. I use sheets that have expressions for different emotions. I often make the faces and try to describe them. I have an idea for the story but I tend to listen to my characters to tell me how they want to get there." Iona
That's creative and very sound advice.  Follow Iona on Twitter: @ionacrv


Theresa Snyder is a multi-talented, internationally read author; well noted for her Farloft Chronicles.  If you have not met Farloft, let me introduce you.  He is the most adorable and funny dragon you will every meet.  He just makes you want to hang out with him all the time.  In fact, you can catch him on Twitter on the last Friday of each month.  Be sure to bring him chocolates!  Theresa has many wonderful things in her toolbox.  In fact, too many to mention here so she gave us a link to her resources.
Theresa says, "Here is a link to What's on My Bookshelf ... I also advise anyone who listens that they buy Scrivner from Literature and Latte. Best writing project ever." Theresa 
Follow Theresa & Farloft on Twitter: @theresaysnyder19.   
Read my interview with Theresa and Farloft; it's delightful and lots of pics.  Isn't he adorable?


From author Jan Romes, creator of zany & sassy characters and author of No Sweatpants Allowed-Wine Club, writes, "My favorite thing to use in the very beginning of penning a story is a notebook but as the plot deepens and the characters grow, a manila folder comes in handy. Inside the folder I write the names of the hero and heroine, their pertinent details - height, build, hair color, eye color, parents names, job description, and lots of small details like what floor they work on in their building, their personality quirks, etc. I stow lots of info in the folder but the inside cover helps me keep things straight." Jan
This lady is detailed and organized. Now you see how different authors have their own style.  You can fit details in a folder but writing is not a one size fits all. Follow Jan on Twitter: @JanRomes
Thanks Jan for helping us to keep it simple. You should do a writer's retreat on characters. 
Jan, like the others, has a system that she freely moves around in and pumps out some great stories.  And that is your goal, to find the tools that you are most comfortable with and have them available when you need them.  And you won't use every tool for every novel or story.  So don't feel overwhelmed!  Just keep them handy.


New Zealand author Kaye Kelly, Cross the River to Home, discusses her early days and how she got past her initial struggles with what she has dubbed a "Stuckasaurus".  Kaye offers this encouragement: "When I first started writing many years ago, one of the things that slowed me up at times wasn’t a biggie like plotting or slogging out a word count for the day nor was it getting my behind onto the chair in front of the computer. (Although they too, often made me feel like banging my head against the wall. And I admit the first day I started on the long winding path of writing, I sat in front of my computer, flexed my hands, tapped on the keys in the manner of a concert pianist and after ten minutes of doing this with my heart fluttering at the thought of the intrepid journey ahead decided it might be a good idea to actually turn the computer on.) No, it was simply getting my characters from one room to another, or moving them from one space to another. In desperation I’d read other writers’ work and see how they handled these “minor” details. Quotation marks used because in my book – pardon the pun – and from the viewpoint of a reader – they’re not minor at all. If not handled well, they can be repetitive, boring or make you wonder if the characters are double-jointed, have no joints at all, or can fly or even become invisible. I came up with the idea of putting the best of other writers’ ways of doing these things in a Stuckasaurus. My own version of a thesaurus. And to this I began adding pieces of writing that I found beautiful, inspiring or just plain damn clever (with the author’s name and book it came from so I knew whose work it was and knew not to copy it. Very important) along with any ideas of my own that flitted into my mind. When I was stuck I’d look through my Stuckasaurus. Seeing how another author had handled a certain situation inspired me to come up with my own ideas on how to proceed with a scene. As time went by and experience kicked in my trusty Stuckasaurus wasn’t needed and it’s long since been relegated to a shelf where it gathers dust. Of course, many beginning writers won’t have this problem, but for those who do, maybe making up your own Stuckasaurus will provide you with a source of inspiration!" Kaye
A clever idea.  Thank you Kaye for sharing "Stuckasaurus" with us.
Follow Kaye on Twitter @kayekellyauthor.

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