Once again this year I sat down to come up with a Christmas-themed blog post like I did last year when I did the 12 Days of Christmas Screenwriting Tips (Day 1 here). Recently I have discovered that readers enjoy a good list so I decided I would come up with a list of 5 Great Gifts for the Writer in Your Life. Below are five items that any writer would love to receive for the holidays. Only one of the items is electronic, the other four are clearly old school and all of the gifts are under $50 each.
Number 5 – Cue Cards
I can’t believe the number of cue cards I go through in a year. I love these things for so much more than just writing. Traditionally writers use these cards to layout scenes or chapters in note form then as they start to plan their writing project, the cards can be moved around easily to determine the flow of the story. While there are a number of electronic ways to do the same thing, nothing beats the flexibility of a hand-written note on a 3 x 5 inch card. The cards come in different colours, which can be useful when planning different plot lines or different character’s point of view. Your writer is probably already using cue cards and they’re going to need some more sooner than they think.
Number 4 – Good Stationary
Two years ago I sat down and hand-wrote a novel of over 52,000 words. To complete a task as large as that I needed a good pen. Whether your writer prefers ball point, gel ink or a pencil they would get the most out of a high quality writing tool. Shown here is the BIC Mini 4-Colour Retractable Ballpoint Pen ($4.00 CDN) which is my favourite pen and has been since high school. If I see these pens on sale I will grab at least three more and put them away until they are needed. The different colours come in handy when you’re looking to highlight a specific piece of information. Sure, this isn’t everyone’s favourite, but your writer has a favourite and they would appricate a couple of spares on hand for their next writing project.
Number 3 – Reference Books
Every writer likes to think that in the moment the perfect word will come to them. That rarely happens which is why they need good reference books. Both a Dictionary and Thesaurus ($15 CDN) is a must for every writer’s desk. While these can be found online nothing beats the feeling you get when you flip through the pages, studying the different words and finding the one you were looking for by accident. I recommend a set, such as the one shown above as they are designed as a set and work very well together, making it easier for your writer to find the write word and quickly understand it’s meaning right away.
Number 2 – Moleskin Notebooks
Every serious writer has carried a small notebook with them at all times to ensure all good ideas are captured regardless of where they are. Today it is possible to do this using your cell phone easy enough, but what do you do when the battery is dead? This is why the writer in your life needs a Moleskin Notebook (various price points). The selection of notebooks is huge, including a number of speciality products such as journals, log book, sketch books and licensed products.
I feel the binding is surperior to any other notebook on the market. Most come in a number of different sizes from pocket size right up at A1 size. Pages are either, blank, lined or squared. Speciality notebooks come in recipe, professional, book reader or various other passions. Visit their website and see if one of these notebooks is right for your writer.
Number 1 – Scrivener
If you’ve been following my blog for some time you know I love the writer program Scrivener from Literature & Latte ($45 USD). Originally created for Mac’s they released a Windows version of their software a couple of years ago, allowing all writers to own the best software designed for writers.
I’ve written about a number of Scrivener’s features, such as Cue Cards (shown above), Collections, Outlining, The Binder, the Screenwriting Format as well as the ability to save as .ePub or .Mobi (as well as other formats) from right within the app. With Scrivener the writer in your life can focus on their writing however it flows, rather than on the program.