The all important “Writer’s Toolkit”
When you hear the words Writer’s Toolkit you probably think of pen, paper, computer, thesaurus, dictionary, etc. However, there are so many other things that a writer needs in order to be successful. The most important being an imagination. Come on, seriously? What else could possibly be more important than that? Without an imagination a writer would just re-hash the same old stories. They wouldn’t be able to give a new take on whatever subject they were tackling. Without an imagination a writer would just see a plant, instead of a plant that could take over the world. Bending humanities to its knees while cackling in the process.
After an imagination, I would say the second most important thing is experience. As humans we learn as we grow. The same thing goes with writing. With that said take all of the classes you can, read all the books you can stand, and write. Write as much as possible. It doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad. You’re still writing. The bad is what edits are for. As you write you’ll learn what works for you. You will also learn what you love to write. It might take a while, so stick with it. The classes and books will help you learn how to hone your craft. It will help you learn how to edit, which can turn the worse story in the world into something to be proud of.
Next, be proud of what you write. Good or bad, it’s words on the page. There are people that go their whole lives dreaming about writing. You’re doing it. Be proud of that! Be proud of your imagination and let it work for you. Even if you are writing about ants make them the best ants you can. Give them lives, stories behind your story. Give them names, families. Love them for who they are to you. Pride in your writing is revealed through how you show your story to others. By show, I mean tell. Telling is all about showing. Make us love your ants.
Use all of your resources. Resources can be friends, family, co-workers, etc. Find someone that loves to read and get them to read your story. Weed out the comments. Focus on the positive. Some times the positive comes in “this sucks, but this is great.” As writers we think our stories are the best in the world. It’s hard hearing that something we’ve spent so much of our life pouring our emotions into, is not the best. Take the comments and figure out how to make it the best.
If you can find a local writing group, join it. This can be a source of valuable craft information. They might even provide information on how to add to your story! Also, they might be able to pass on information about query submissions, what acronyms mean, who’s looking for what, etc. Always keeps your ears and eyes open.
Check out some books about the craft of writing. For example, Stephen King’s On Writing is excellent! The cover on the front even gives a perfect glimpse into a writer’s life. It’s not all glamor, glitz, and travel. It’s about sitting at a messy desk writing something you love.
Another great book to get is The Emotion Thesaurus. One of the great things that writers can do is portray emotion through their characters. To do this properly you need to know exactly what is felt in the different emotions we feel as humans. For example, rage can be seen in the face, felt in blood, show by hands flexing back and forth. Rage can lead to this like attempted murder, but how does it start? Is it long term or just appear? Is there an in-between emotion that can warn of it’s impending transition to rage?
Also check out Word Painting by Rebecca McClanahan. One of the first things I look for in a book to read is how it begins. It should start with a bang if it’s a romantic suspense. However, if it’s a fantasy then you’re going to have to build your world for me. What better way to do that than painting a picture of it for me to see? I want to feel the wind on my face. I want to get sucked into your world and be regretful when the book ends because it ended. I want to know what the weather is like on your foreign planet. I want to know how your society numbers into the thousands as if leaves on a tree. Make me see it. Make me live it. Make me fall in love with it.
These are just a few of the things that every writer needs in their Writer’s Toolkit. You can have all the resources in the world to write your stories, but even if you have them all it won’t mean much if you’re not writing a story that you love. That’s the key to using all these items. Write what you love. You don’t necessarily have to write what you know. That would be boring. You have to love what you write though cause it’ll show through. I think that’s why Stephen King is such a great writer. He writes what he loves.
As you can see a Writer’s Toolkit is a very important concept. It houses numerous items that ultimately are for the purpose of enhancing a story. It enhances the writer’s voice, tone, conveyed knowledge, etc. This is all reflected in the finished product. The finished product that a writer loves. It may be heartbreaking, romantic, futuristic, slightly impossible, or even full of only imaginable things. It is still loved though.
What’s in your Writer’s Toolkit?