Thursday, April 25, 2013

Create or Refresh Your Own Writer's Toolbox

From Cheryl's Writing Crate

Now that the warmer spring weather is here, I'm spending a bit more time on a lofty list of spring cleaning projects around our home.  Whether it's purging a few closets, repairing broken tiles, organizing the garage or freshening up the main living areas with vibrant coats of paint that invoke the ambiance of the Caribbean one thing that all of these projects have in common is having the right tool for the job.

A toolbox is essential in keeping valuable items safe and ready to go for any project, big or small, planned or unplanned that arises.  Writers may not use hammers, screwdrivers, and pliers but we require important tools as well to get the job done, that's why I created my writer's toolbox several years ago.  It's not an actual toolbox that sits on my desk, although some of the items that I consider valuable tools, my favorite writer's books, pens, pencils and journals are always close by in my writer's crate.

My writer's toolbox is a collection of articles, essays, short-stories and even on-line books that I have on file so that I can research, become inspired, or simply re-read for pleasure to help keep my creative juices flowing.  I learn something new every time I re-read something in my collection--my toolbox--and am usually able to apply it to any of the projects I'm currently working on.

Now that I'm doing some redecorating in our home, I've decided that this would be the perfect time to review the content in my writer's toolbox and freshen it up with some new articles and other thought-provoking material such as favorite quotes, lists of books and authors I would like to explore this summer, and anything else that pleases my writer's fancy.

Here's a wonderful example of a new piece of inspiration that I will be adding to my writer's toolbox.  

Kurt Vonnegut's 8 Rules for Writing Fiction:

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

4. Every sentence must do one of two things - reveal character or advance the action.

5. Start as close to the end as possible.

6. Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them - in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

For more great writing tips from Kurt Vonnegut, don't forget to check out:
Vonnegut: How To Write With Style

Do you have a writer's toolbox?  What tools help you get creative?

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