When it comes to creating a book, as you can see, there are a lot of tools I use. Which one I pick up depends entirely on my mood or the problem I’m facing with the book.
Early in the process, I use the Writer’s Brainstorming Kit. I use this mostly because my friend and critique partner, Regan Black, lives 5 hours away and I’ve heard she’d like to get some writing of her own done. If you’re a writer and you want something that can help you brainstorm, this is it. The book comes with a deck of cards with a word on each one, and simple suggestions for goal, motivation, plot, etc. for each word. It’s a great starting place if you just want to play with a character a little.
But just because the kit gives you the card, doesn’t mean it’s right. For the book I’m working on now, my princess’s goal card was innocence. I read all the possibilities #22, and thought, no, that’s not right, here’s her thing. So the cards don’t always tell the truth, but they can help you have a-ha moments.
Notecards and colored pencils. Alternate: Excel spreadsheet and different colored fonts. This time I wanted to be able to move stuff around a lot so I used notecards. Regan finds this process hysterical. As I create the plot and subplots, I start writing one scene per card. Each plot line is in a different color so that when the book is laid out, I can immediately see if I’m spending too much time on any one plot point and move the scenes around. It works for me.
Tarot cards. Yes, they’re there. I am more than willing to do readings on my characters. It’s really interesting what comes up as you read the Tarot Guide and learn the meaning of each card. The cards pose questions more than answers, but in answering the questions, I learn a lot about the character. This is a long process because I’m not skilled with the Tarot. I cannot do a reading on anyone else for the simple reason that we’d all forget the question before I looked up the meaning of the second card. But an author did a reading for one of my characters when I was up against a wall, and it was spot on. So, it’s a tool in the box to help me focus on my characters and a lot of their backstory.
Chocolate and red wine. Also pralines, and the drink stirs from Margaritaville. The stirs started as a pleasant reminder of getting to the beach and watching people in the restaurant for a couple of hours. Then they became hair sticks. The rest of that is self-explanatory.
So there it is. My writer’s toolkit. The things I go to when I don’t know where the book is going. I’m open to suggestions for additions.