Sunday, October 6, 2013

Writing Tools

In the good old days, sonny, long before we  had these new-fangled things like pens and paper we authors would just sit around the fire and tell our stories, or repeat some favorite told by others and usually with some slight modifications to improve rhyme or meter.  The only tools we needed back then were a good memory and a lack of shame.

Things change and now we have keyboards and screens, software and hardware, and the intellectual wealth of humanity at our fingertips. Any one of us could scribe a tale or repeat (albeit in different words) many-told stories. Whether we are successful at this or not depends largely on our level of story-telling skills and our tools - and our lack of shame, of course.

Whoa: TOOLS? What does an author need save some place to record thoughts and dreams aside from the writing tools themselves - keyboards, blank screens, and software (and yes, there is still a place for pen and paper, kids)?  The answer depends on how hard a writer wants to work and the process they use to build the tale.

The finest tool at any writer's disposal is  the ability to plot - to lay out a story in a continuous thread that's easily followed by readers to a conclusion of some sort. Whether you build the plot as an outline, draw a network diagram, create a complex spreadsheet/database, or simply sketch it out on a page or two is a matter or personal choice. There are many free and costly software tools that facilitate doing each these tasks and each requires some degree of familiarity and skill before producing the best results.

Just as a chisel will not turn you into a sculptor, a paint brush an artist, neither will any writing tool somehow grant you magical powers of story creation.

That comes only from your imagination and intelligence.


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