My Tools of the Trade

Veronica Rossi 9 Thursday, July 28, 2011
I love talking with other writers about our work tools. It makes me feel like we're very professional--like a pair of builders stepping back and talking about the materials used in framing a house. Or like artists, talking about linseed oil and brush bristles and the power of Thalo Blue. It really connects me with the fact that we create something. We are a league of builders. We are artists. So please grab your hard hat or your painter's smock and let's talk shop.
Here are my book creating tools:

iMac – My desktop computer with a huge screen that allows me to see two pages side by side at full size. I wrote UNDER THE NEVER SKY on a laptop—which was more than adequate—but for hours upon hours of writing, nothing compares to the elevated screen, the screen size, and the portable keyboard. Top marks. Wish I hadn’t waited so long to purchase one.
Mac Book Pro – This is the laptop I mentioned above. A great piece of equipment. Sleek and fast. At least it was when I purchased it several years ago. Now I’m eyeing the Mac Air.
That concludes the APPLE portion of this blog post (although it’s a struggle not to throw other items in here… iPhone, anyone? iPad? iThink i’M iCrazy for Apple.)
Harman Kardon Speakers – Reasonable price for how great these things sound. I’m almost always playing music when I write, so I use these daily. Score: 10 out of 10.
Scrivener – I could do a whole post on just this. I really like this writing software, particularly for early-stage writing, as it allows you to be very organized about story structure. I have yet to use Scrivener through the entire first to last draft process. I find that eventually, I need to move over to Microsoft Word, where I have a better sense of my place in the story. But for the days when you’re sitting down and banging out a scene, Scrivener is fantastic.
Now, let’s get a little lower tech, shall we? Here are other much-used items in my toolbox.
Post it Flags – perfect for revision work, and so pretty to look at. I could probably wallpaper my office with the amount of flags I used while revising UTNS. Love these.

Futuro Wrist Guards – I’ve blogged about these before. Wrist strain is a potential problem for anyone working regularly on a computer. I have a nice little ganglion cyst on my wrist (who said rhyming was out?) If you want to gross yourself out, Google it. Mine’s not too big—yet.
It’s just a teeny little nub right now. Bret and I like to call it my Alien Wrist Baby, because for a while there I worried it might spawn something. But thanks to the Futuro guard, I’ve got little junior under control.(Just trying to keep it real.)(But sorry if that just grossed you out.)
Feline/Canine Companion – These little items are key for the writing process. Not a cheap investment, and the upkeep is considerable, but no other product that I know of purrs or wags its tail when you ask them, “What do you think? Good line or stupid line?”
What are some of the items you rely on when you write?


Say hi to the Alien Wrist Baby for me. Glad the sucker is under control.

Cyst on my wrist, too--must try the Futuro. I've come to find that the smell of baking bread is a great incentive to finish a chapter--or paragraph...

I have a nice little ganglion cyst on my wrist, too! We truly are sistas! (Only mine is HUGE. In L.A. I want more details about your wrist contraptions please...)

Wow. Look at all us soul cysta's! OK, that was bad. And sorry you can't be a part of it, Bret. Yes to LA, Jackie & fresh baked bread, PB? Ummm. YES.

I use a spread sheet of all my chapters with synopsis. When I can't write anymore in the draft, I go to my trusty spreadsheet and think of titles to fit where I'm going in the story. Since I know I can change these later on, I go on to fill in a little or a lot of synopsis for them. I do miss my Final Draft software where I could move postcards around, but I make do by cutting and pasting. Then of course there is my Pug, Stella, who faithfully sits right behind me on a loveseat, on her favorite leopard throw. When the going gets rough, I blast Natalia Bettingfied's, 'Take me Away" till I don't hear it anymore. Cheers!

My cat rarely purrs. He gives me languid looks of contempt. He is a cat after all.

I'm curious about how Word helps you have a better sense of your place in the story. Seems to me it would be less so. Mind elaborating a bit on that? Thanks!

It's Romi here, from !
I was wondering wether you had any news about books reviews for your book and people wanting to do reviews? (Hope it's fine to contact you via comments!- my email is- rfoster (dot) foster (at) gmail (d0t) com if you could reply via that?
I'd love to be able to get a copy for reviewing!

Thanks for commenting, guys. I love hearing about your animal co-writers! Mike, regarding your question, it's a hard one to explain. I think because Word is so static, it makes me feel more comfortable when the novel starts to solidify. I have moved chapters on Scriv before, deleted them, all on accident, and made a big mucky mess. Word, that's harder to do. For me. But I do love Scriv for the flux-ey, drafty stage.

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