By Terry C. Misfeldt
The most important tool available to you as a writer is your brain! Chief among writing tools: You ability to think and create. Think about what you are trying to say. When you know what message you want to convey, there are many writing tools at your disposal.
Research can be a valuable writing tool. Where do you find out about personalities so you can determine what your characters’ flaws and attributes are? Psychology textbooks are one source. Personality profile programs are another. Maps, the Internet, and countless other sources of information can assist your research quest. Chambers of commerce in many communities can provide you with demographic information.
Reading is often overlooked as a writing tool, but one that can prove powerful. Read the works of other writers in the genre you are working on. How do they create scenes? Write down the ideas that relate to your story. How do they create conflict between characters? Again, make some notes. How do they create dialogue? Emulate them if you believe it is appropriate for your work.
Outlining & Plotting are writing tools that are somewhat synonymous. When you outline your story from beginning to conclusion, you have a tool that enables you to look at the story impartially. If you believe a chapter should be moved forward or back, the outline suggests where it may fit better. Plotting, likewise, enables you to plot the course of your story and inject conflict where you may not thought of adding it.
Another writing tool we take for granted: Your computer. Most computer programs help edit what you write and find alternative words if you need a substitute. Things I have found most valuable about my laptop are the keyboard I have attached that enables me to type more efficiently, the storage capacity, the ease of editing, and the speed it enables me to write with. My brain works much faster than my fingers can type, but the more I practice, the closer those two speeds come together.