Tools of our craft – we are blessed to not lament the expense of wasted paper when a scene doesn’t work. Our fingers are not perpetually stained with ink.*

Although I’d be lying if it didn’t feel like this…

chiselThe FIRST and most important tool – “We”<<< that means ME – learned this the hard way last March. Reliable technology! There is no more sickening feeling than looking at the screen wondering where did the words go?

I’m a big fan of sketching scenes with pen and paper – UNTIL it’s time to translate.Ā  “…the handwriting of a serial killer.”**Ā  Eventually everything has to go into a digital form. Does anyone even accept giant envelopes of typed pages anymore?

  • Invest in the best computer & word processing software you can afford. We use Word. The “track changes” feature has been invaluable as drafts are passed around before being pasted into the manuscript.
  • Scrivener – More bells and whistles than I’ll ever master I’m sure, but makes organizing the MS so simple. Scrivener routinely offers discounts during NaNoWriMo and also has a 30 day FREE trial. I know there’re other programs out there, be sure to tell us about them in the comments!
  • Dropbox – always have a backup and backup often. Dropbox is easy to download for any device and is great for sharing big files.
  • If you are collaborating and live a bazillion miles apart – load up a good messenger program. Right now, we are on Hangouts by Google – so far it’s the most glitch free and device friendly for all three of us.

Just like every scene tries to engage all five senses, the same is true for our process. We like tools we can touch, see, smell, hear.


  • Notebooks, post-its, pens – in colors and design that engage the creative centers. The great thing about using sticky notes to tab scene edits on the printed draft…watching them disappear as you move through the pages.
  • Storyboards – much like you see done for movies. It’s more than an outline it’s a visual representation of the major events. Use lots of 8×10 pages, they will move around!
  • Whiteboard – this is especially useful during Retreats as we map out problem scenes or fix plot holes. Love the smell of dry-erase in the morning.
  • Music – Too subjective to even begin listing. Ludovico Einaudi Islands is my most recent listen especially during long sessions or frustrating edits.

We must not discount the intangibles, undefinables, dare I say mystical, magical, mysterious tools…


Prayer & laughter, patience, wine and…. šŸ˜‰

What’s your favorite hardware, software, underwear for optimum creativity?


*Little Women

**Steel Magnolias