1. iabanon
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    iabanon Member

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    Writing Tools.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by iabanon, Dec 28, 2011.

    What kind of writing tools do you use?
    Example I have a Dictionary. I think it's Chambers, but I'm told there are better. Good for spelling corrections if you can find the word, lol. Also great for making sure I know what that word really means.
    Thesaurus. This has been great when I know I want a certain word,but can't remember what it is so I search similar words. Sometimes that works.
    My Style Manual which needs an update actually. I haven't used it much lately anyway.
    Google has been my friend for much research and sometimes I just pop on there to find a grammatical solution to something I might be wondering about.
    My text book from my Professional Writing and Editing course. That was a very helpful course in English construction. I had very poor education prior to that so it really helped. I'm still not aux fait with it all, but I'm always learning.
    Eats, Shoots and Leaves is a great little book on Grammar and punctuation. The title being a play on two ways to see the sentence. Brilliant!

    And you?
     
  2. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have an Australia/New Zealand dictionary from about the '60s or '70s, which was my mother's. I also have Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language (Unabridged) from 1952. It's huge, like almost 6 inches thick and A4.
    I also use Google's "define" function occasionally.

    Mostly, though, I just write in Word. I very rarely use a dictionary.
     
  3. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    I own six or seven dictionaries (with several containing large grammar sections) in ENG/ES/FR/JP but I rarely touch them when writing.
     
  4. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    To paraphrase a point from On Writing: all the tools you need to write should be kept in your mind.
     
  5. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Mine are pretty much the same as yours:

    Dictionary
    Thesaurus
    Google (especially google maps)
    Word
    Dropbox (new acquaintance)
     
  6. Whirlwind
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    Whirlwind Member

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    Writers Room software.
    Kal Bashir's version of hero's journey.
    Dictionary.
    Thesaurus.
    Backup software.
    White board, maker pens.
    Laptop.
    Coffee.
     
  7. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I have the complete Oxford English Dictionary, and the Concise Oxford English Dictionary. I have a huge thesaurus that I never use - I think I've taken it down from the shelf about three times in the last ten years. I have a few usage books, including two editions of Fowler's, but I don't use them as writing references. I just like browsing through them every once in a while, because I think the English language is interesting in itself.

    Laptop, notebooks (paper ones, not electronic ones!), pens of various colors, mechanical pencils. All that, plus a brain well-stocked with trivia and a plus-sized imagination.
     
  8. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    Yes. Love the book and the advice.

    I like to learn about writing by reading and consulting dictionaries when I come across a word I don't know (happens on this forum sometimes), but really, when I'm writing I'm just writing.

    I do have Strunk & White's The Elements of Style, but I read it once and rarely refer back to it.

    One thing I do use is Google Street View when I need to look at a place I'm writing about but haven't been to in a while.
     
  9. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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  10. iabanon
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    iabanon Member

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    Well that's besides the point unless you KNOW how to spell every word, truly understand the meaning of that word and can write grammatically perfectly. At some point you have to edit and take responsibility for what you've written. No editor is going to do it all for you.

    And I don't mean tools like pens and computers. I meant brain tools. What you use to help you write better. Doesn't matter whether you are using them along the way or stop and go back when editing. That too is besides the point.
     
  11. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I occasionally read a book _about_ writing--Stephen King's _On Writing_, for example, and I just finished reading a couple of books about editing and revision--but I don't really have any writing tools beyond a word processor. (Actually, a text editor; I do most of my writing in bbEdit.) Once in a while, I'll Google a word definition or a synonym/antonym, but that's pretty rare.
     
  12. MVP
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    Pen(s) + notebook(s) = rough draft.
     
  13. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    But writers SHOULD know how to spell the words we use, and to understand their meanings. And writers SHOULD be able to write grammatically correct sentences without having to consult Holy Reference Tomes. Of course, we all make the occasional mistake - nobody is absolutely perfect, including the apparently-godlike Stephen King (how did he become so revered by inexperienced writers, anyway?) - but we should all be able to clear a very high bar. It's hard to take seriously a writer who can't spell. Or a writer who knows nothing about grammar. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation should be in the writer's mind, even part of the writer's soul. A carpenter shouldn't have to read a manual on how to use his hammer or his saw. Would you trust a carpenter who had to keep referring to manuals on his most basic tools?
     
  14. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    For me just a pen/pencil and a notebook. That's all. :)
     
  15. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    I have an ancient copy of word (Word 97 for the win) and Open Office on my writing computer. That works for me when I'm actually writing. Pens and pencils and scraps of paper are for brainstorming and outlining, if I need to do that physically instead of just mulling it over.

    For fact checking, I use Google, Wikipedia, and a collection of nonfiction books. Loads and loads of those ... I tend to write science fiction and low-tech fantasy settings, and when I want to know which plants are good for dyeing wool without a mordant or what a corn crib looks like or how exactly people do construction work with rammed earth, I turn to those books.

    For sending stuff out, depending on where I'm submitting my work, I have PDF Creator and Word 97. I also have GIMP, because there aren't all that many markets for short story reprints, and so I use GIMP and Paint together to make covers for the short stories I put up on Amazon.

    And for learning the business of writing, Strunk & White's Elements of Style sits on the shelf next to Worlds of Wonder: How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by David Gerrold and On Writing by Stephen King.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    dictionary
    thesaurus
    s&w
    a good punctuation guide
    the screenwriter's bible
    syd field's screenwriting workbook
    final draft software
    ms word

    and several online references you'll find links to here: http://www.writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=21049
     
  17. haribol
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    haribol Member

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    I have so many books, dictionaries that tell lots about creative writings, vocabulary buildings and style and yet I never refer to them and I am hundred percent depending on Google. Google means everything to me. English is my second language and I have acquired a fair amount of knowledge in English and I can write sentences in English confidently and the credit of this goes to Google and today with this I am capable of communicating across a large society of people fluently and not only that I write poems, essays and stories in English. This has been possible thanks to Google that opens for me a world of books, dictionaries, guide books and the like and I hope I can emerge as a creative writer though I have no access to creative writing courses since I cannot have this privilege owing to the fact that I was born in the third world.
     
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    of course you do!... if you can use google, then you can sign up for an online writing course... the best of the best are offered by 'gotham' in nyc: http://www.writingclasses.com/

    besides that 'best' one there are a few pretty good ones, but lots of only fair to poor and even more outright scams, so just be sure you check out whichever you're considering at http://pred-ed.com/ first...
     
  19. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    My vast vocabulary, accumulated from reading voraciously.
     

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