A Writer’s Toolbox

For a writer, you have your basic tools of the trade. If you are like me you have your pens, paper, notebooks, scraps of paper, fountain pens, pencils, and things to do all your writing by hand. I do a lot of writing by hand. Then you have your computer, laptop, typewriters, word processors (though most of those have gone by the wayside).  These are what make a writer create there work.

But sometimes, you need extra things other than just a pen, paper and your mind.  That’s where the Toolbox comes in hand.

First you have your hardware: the book thesauruses, libraries and other various methods of information.

Then there are the online sources.

First, let’s start with the blog A Writer’s Path.  Over there, Ryan has compiled a nice, neat list of links for places online that really do help a writer out. Mr. B would say it’s cheating and what did writers do before there was the internet? To which I reply, there were an awful lot of John’s, Jane’s, Mary’s and Frank’s as character names…. Just saying.

‘The little Nudge’ from The Santa Clause 2. Because we all need a little nudge…

Ryan, has links for random name generators, plots, clothing, body language, etc. , to help you get going where sometimes you just need a nudge.

Then he has links for traditional publishing and self publishing.  They are all really great links and I urge you to check them out because, as of yet, I don’t have my own list of links for a Toolbox. I really should consider compiling one for myself.

So, check out his Toolbox, but I also have a few links to add to this.

First off:  Fantasy Name Generators   This link has everything. Place names (fantasy, mixed with real, Asian, inns, bars, lakes, mountains, castles…), Fantasy names, real names, constellations names (fake), mineral names (fake), and I could go on and on. This site is rather remarkable and you can spend so much time futzing.

Treasury of Latin Prayers  If you are writing anything that needs a latin prayer, well here you go. I haven’t searched through the whole thing, but wow, both translations, so you know what’s being said. For all those historical novels, this can be quite useful.

Random Romance Novel Title Generator   Yes, I know, but hey, some of use do write romance and honestly, coming up with a decent title for a romance is harder than it looks. Especially without it sounding too cheesy.  Just try it out.

And for Westerns…. Random Western Novel Title Generator

For unique women’s clothing  DevilNight has a remarkable amount of cool clothing. Vintage, Victorian, Gothic, Retro, Wedding, Medieval….

These are just a few extra places to check out. There are so many resources out there for writing.

I love Tumblr for writing prompts. Some of my best pictures for writing have come from there. Bing and Google have an exhaustive image archive, for whatever it is you are looking up, and don’t forget Pinterest and WeHeartIt.  These are all great spots to help with writing as well.

So, does anyone else have some great Toolbox links?  I think I should start compiling a list and put it on it’s own page. Maybe right up there with ‘Methods of Madness’ a page I have yet to fully finish.


That Tapping Sound That Makes You Feel Like You Accomplished Writing

Because we couldn’t use an actual rotary phone

Here I am tapping out this post on my laptop to that marvelous sound of a typewriter….. No, someone is not using my Royal. I am typing to a program that simulates the sound of a typewriter on your computer.  Seems rather strange when you think about it. Are we all so nostalgic for something that we will make a sound to recreate it on our computer? It’s rather like the cell phones that have a regular phone’s ring, or that attachment you can connect to your cell that looks like a regular handset from a home phone.

Anyways, Walter and I were talking last week about how we he wondered if there was a program to make your laptop typing sound like a typewriter. There is. There are three major ones in fact though I think one is better than others.

I’m using Qwertick which is the simplest of the three. No setting, runs easy, and you can shut it down relatively easy.

Then there is ClicKey which took me a while to figure out how to change the settings. Downside, all keys sound the same, including the Enter key, which on Qwertick actually sounds like an electric typewriter’s carriage return.

The third one is Home Typist which we didn’t like at all. The sounds were a little to computer game sounding, in my opinion

My Royal

So, am I going to use this that often? Probably not. It does bring a bit of nostalgia back into typing, but since I can yank out my Royal anytime I want to actually hear a typewriter, then why not do that? Walter thinks it’s great because he’s not the world’s best typist so the extra sound lets him know he has hit a key. And I have to admit, it is rather fun to hear that sound, though I prefer a manual typewriter sound versus an electric machine sound.

I just find it rather humorous that we search for things to bring back the old into our modern lives, when if we would just unplug the laptop, or cell phone, we could pick up the typewriter or the rotary phone and have those old sounds or feels right at our finger tips.

Check out the apps. Let me know what you think.  Would you use this?  I think the typewriter sound might be fun when I’m working with Dark Room.  Which I happen to love for the minimalist approach to writing. (I would like spell check occasionally, but you know, you can’t have everything when you are going minimalist.

Signing off


A Writer’s Film

The-Magic-Of-Belle-Isle-Morgan-Freeman1Often, I keep track of films I watch that have a serious writer’s theme to the storyline.  Most recently it was The Magic of Belle Isle staring Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen. First off, I highly recommend this to any writer.  It’s a charming look at how imagination can and is a part of our lives, along with the story of a struggling writer. Plus it ends well and is a charming, charming story.

f03e818295b65975c3f4c94054b4314dOne of the things that got to me most about the film was the relationship Morgan Freeman’s character, Monte, has with his typewriter. At the start of the film he says “She’s a black-hearted whore, and I’m done with her.” Slowly, with the pushing of nine year old Finnegan O’Neil, he starts to write again and by the end of the film, you know he is back in sync with the machine.  There is a line where Finnegan asks Monte why he doesn’t use a computer.

Monte’s response. “I’m going to answer your question in return for blessed silence. Look at that machine. I like that you have to write a bit slower on a manual, I like the way it sounds, I like the way the letters bite into the paper, I like that you can feel as a genuine human being doing the work.”

Sometimes I forget the magic of using my typewriter. I haven’t had the inclination to pull out the Royal (he/she needs a good name instead of just Royal unless I want to envision Royal Wilder from the Little House on the Prairie series).  I actually haven’t had the inclination to do a lot of writing to tell you the truth.  However, whenever I see typewritten words or poems I just inwardly sigh in happiness. When I see someone using a typewriter I want to hug them. And when I see the love of a typewriter expressed in a film, it just makes me want to write to the screenwriter and thank them for making my day.  It doesn’t happen often, because honestly, there are not that many writer-esque films. So when I do see one, I pay attention.

1002004004848400Another film that made me want to start using my Royal (somebody help me name the darn machine) was Shadows in the Sun staring Joshua Jackson and Harvey Keitel.  Along the same lines as Monte, a line by Harvey Keitel’s character says Weldon Parish: “Typewriters make you think about the words you choose more carefully, because you can’t erase them with the push of a button. ”   (side note: great ideas, very cheesy film)

For some reason, even though I know all of this it’s nice to hear it in a film, or a book, or some random post. Little writer’s reminders are nice.

liberal_arts_2012Lastly, just because we are on the subject of writer’s films, I want to mention a new film that I HIGHLY recommend along with The Magic of Belle Isle.  This film is an independent film by actor Josh Radnor titled Liberal Arts.  I won’t go into a description because you can read about online everywhere. Just watch it.  If you love inspiration from all around, classical music, good humor, humor on life and college, and just an all around good feeling when you get done with a movie, then you need to see this.  It’s charming and you just want to meet Josh Radnor when you get done, especially since he wrote, directed and starred in the film.  So so very good.

One last thought.  I think the typewriter used in The Magic of Belle Isle was an Underwood.  I had the opportunity of having my grandfather’s machine, but it didn’t work and he ended up finding someone that liked those kind.  While I still wouldn’t really want one, man, those have got to be one of the coolest looking typewriters around.

Signing off


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The Typewriter

In lieu of actually typing this bit of very free form poetry, you can see the actual typed copy in the picture above. I love typing on it, but when I have to hunt and peck for keys, it isn’t always easy, nor is the fact that there is not ‘deleting’ backspace button like my laptop.

My mother mentioned she enjoyed hearing the typewriter the past few days as I was typing up some things. I’ve missed it as well.

Oh, and there is no ‘plus’ (+) key on a typewriter. I don’t even know how to make it! And to make the exclamation point is exactly what I said.


Signing off