November 18, 2011

Friday Fives: Writing Essentials

Before I get into today's Friday Fives topic, you should know something: It's currently -17C (1F) and dropping over the course of the day - not going up like a normal place, but down, all the way to -26C (-15F) tonight. Awesome. Forget everything I've said before about 'myths about Canada'. Everything you've heard about Canada is true - we are indeed a polar ice cap and live in igloos. So 'Ho Ho Ho' and 'Happy Flippin' Freezing Friday'. Anyhoo, moving on...

Today's Friday Fives topic over at Paper Hangover:
FIVE things you need to write with (minus pen, paper, & computer).

Wasn't sure at first if I understood the question correctly, but judging from others' responses, I'm not as dumb as I initially thought. What do I need in order for my writing process to work?

1.  Inspiration
  • Music:  I listen to a wide variety of different types of music, and have come up with playlists for my WIPs. Usually it's just random stuff I happened to be listening to, but surprisingly many of the songs fit what I'm working on.
  • Pictures: I'd like to thank whoever turned my attention to Pinterest. No seriously, you're to blame (whoever you are) for hours of time suckage. I have, however, found many inspirational images here and elsewhere on the web. I like to find pictures of setting, clothing, even visual representations of my characters to use for inspiration.
  • Books: I read a lot, and when I'm working on a particular story I like to read books in the same genre. You run the risk of writing material that is too similar to what you're reading, but I'd rather take that risk and put myself in the right frame of mind for writing my own story.
♥ Filled with steamy goodness ♥
2.  Hot Beverages 
  • Coffee: A couple (or a few) mugs first thing in the morning. Oh, and it has to be in a season-appropriate mug. Right now it's a white & red Starbucks Christmas mug with embossed reindeer.
  • Tea: Often in the afternoon. I prefer black teas and Earl Grey is my favourite, especially the Tazo kind. I do really like English Breakfast and Orange Pekoe as well (all of the above with some milk).
3.  A Well-Developed Plan (don't forget 'Antipantser') 
  • Character Questionnaires: I fill out questionnaires - the weirder, the better - on my MCs in order to gain a deeper understanding of them for consistency and believability.
  • Charts: I make tables/charts for scenes and the overall outline of my story, then highlight when I've completed that particular scene or detail.
  • Post-its, and Words Docs, and Files (Oh my!): I keep files on my computer on Setting, Characters, Story Images, Outlines, Title ideas, and so on. I have Post-its everywhere with silly little details about characters and plot points. I also put some of these things up on the wall over my desk so they're staring me in the face.
4.  Comfy Clothes 
  • I don't want to be distracted by pants bunching in all the wrong places, or the fact that my toes are freezing (see current temp above). I recently purchased a pair of cufflets to combat the chilly fingers I get from typing for hours. I also bought the matching leg warmers. Yes, leg warmers and no, this isn't the set of Fame or Flashdance. I have a parcel arriving today and I just might 'She's a Maniac'* my way to the door. We'll see.
5.  Word Tools 
  • Dictionary: For when I keep using a word and I'm not sure if 'it means what I think it means' (*said in Inigo Montoya's voice*). I my Oxford Concise Dictionary 9th Ed..
  • Thesaurus: This handy but oft overused tool I tread lightly around. While the thesaurus can be abused pretty easily, it's more useful than detrimental in my case. Sometimes I get completely hung up on a word (not quite what I'm looking for) and in seconds I'm able to find the right word, or a different word because I'm overusing another word.

*I taught my eleven year old nephew this one and now he can always be counted on to belt it out if you say the word 'maniac'. To my sister and brother-in-law: You're welcome.


  1. Yay for comfy pants and socks! I promise not to judge you for wearing leg warmers. If I had some, I'd be wearing them too, and it's not nearly as cold where I am as it is where you are. I can honestly say that if I lived where it got down to the negatives, I'd die. End of story. I love your list! :)

  2. I hear you about the 'dying' from cold weather. I asked my husband yesterday if we could move somewhere it never snows (I like it for Christmas, but that's it). He suggested Dubai. I shut down that conversation.

  3. I'm sorry, I couldn't get past the temperature. Holy Nuts! I don't know how you survive in that sort of cold.

  4. Being cold is the worst and kitties are totally the best leg warmers.

  5. Leg warmers and cufflets!! Such an amazing idea! I am always cold and can't write if I'm thinking about how cold I am. Though, I'm so glad I'm not in Canada! (I mean, no offense.)

  6. I'm shivering just thinking about how cold it is up there. Brr! Great list.

  7. I should mention that -17C(1F) doesn't actually feel horribly cold. I was just outside shoveling and it wasn't actually that bad. When you've experienced -50C(-58F)-no joke (Calgary 2008) -this hardly compares. Anything below -35C feels the same: COLD!

  8. Brr! Okay, I won't complain that our low in VA last night was 30 degrees. :p We do a lot of the same things for inspiration. I can't write without music in the background, and Pinterest is my favorite time-suck.

    I'm also a planner. I have character profiles, and plot out each chapter on those little note cards in Scrivener before I start. I usually change things along the way, but it's nice to have a road map.

  9. With the exception of the coffee, I'm we have identical writing must-haves, right down to the specific plan of action. Whatever it takes, right?!


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