Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tools of the Trade

Yesterday I talked about having people who believe in your dream to support you. Today I want to give you a few tools that I've been using as I work through revisions of my writing.

The key to believable writing, whether fiction or non-fiction, is to have excellent research. I believe one great tool is Google Earth. For anyone with a high speed connection, this website gives you the ability to look at the actual area you book is set in. While not perfect, it does help if you are not able to travel to the area where you need to go.

Another great tool is the Flip Dictionary. A thesaurus is an important tool but the flip dictionary is helpful when you don't know the word that you don't know. Last night I was trying to think of various words to describe trees, plants, and other growing things. I am not a person who is good with plants. In fact, I read a line in a book about a person who not only "killed plants. But plants committed suicide when they saw him coming." Well, that is me. That means this dictionary was GREAT to help me find word based on descriptions.

I use a modified version of Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake method. In fact, the method I'd created was almost identical to his. When I bought the program I was shocked that my mind works so much like such a smart guy!! So if you need structure to your story, his is a great resource.

Of course, Writing the Breakout Novel is a must have on any serious writer's bookshelf.

But all these things cost money!!!

Yes, that's true but these are really tools of the trade. Some of them might be available at a library. You might be able to use other versions [like a Thesaurus]. But since I'm a writing career coach and I want to help you with your career, these are the kinds of things I suggest you begin to gather.

Finally, get three or four books from your local library [mine are all books on tape] and pour through them in as rapid succession as possible. If you can believe it I read 4 books last week and I'm on track to finish 3 this week. This has not only made housework MUCH more enjoyable, it has also RECREATED my books. I've learned a great deal about layering and depth in books by doing this. I've also learned what kinds of things turn readers off. It has been fascinating!

I'll talk about more about that tomorrow. Hope to see you then!!

I have to go. I have writing to do!!

Your coach for the journey, Tiffany Colter

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