1. FAC63

    FAC63 New Member

    Sep 10, 2016
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    Opinions on gifts for a writer

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by FAC63, Sep 10, 2016.

    Hello everyone

    I'm wondering if I can ask your advice/opinions on something. I'm not writer, but I just started dating a girl who is going to write a novel. I don't really know her that well yet, but her birthday is coming up. Although it might be a bit cliche, I thought I'd create my own 'writer's kit' for her. I was wondering if anyone could share their thoughts on this list (largely compiled from the first few listings on a google search) and let me know if something is particularly useful or not.

    I'm planning on packaging all of this up:
    1. USB pen
    2. Scrivener software
    3. USB drive with an excel spreadsheet with the following:
    a. A list of agents that specialize in her particular genre (Westerns) including contact and how they want things submitted
    b. A list of resources on how to write a query letter
    c. She has ADD but does not take meds, so I've found a list of apps for her phone that assist with this, I was going to put a comprehensive list and include a istore (or whatever it's called) gift card
    4. Noise cancelling headphones

    There's a few other things going in there as well (and of course there will be cake), but this is really the main writing related items.

    I'm a little concerned about the agent list, because after spending an hour compiling it, I read that there are a lot of scammers out there, so I'm not sure if I'm doing her a favor with that.

    Thanks in advance all for your help and I wish you all the best with your projects - especially the sci-fi writers out there.
  2. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

    Jun 3, 2015
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    SC, USA
    This is a lot of stuff for a girl you don't really know that well. I know it's not what you're asking about, but you might be coming on tad strong.

    Anyway, the agents and query letter resources are probably jumping the gun a bit since from your phrasing I assume she hasn't even started writing yet? I know a lot of people do like Scrivener and noise cancelling headphones are always nice, though.
    Spencer1990 likes this.
  3. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

    Mar 13, 2016
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    Honestly, the whole list of agents thing is a bit of a stretch for someone who hasn't actually written the novel yet. Agents change agencies, stop accepting submissions, and change their preferred genres. In all likelihood, the list you compile now, will be relatively useless when she actually has a novel ready for submission.

    USB pen: Sure, people can always use them.
    Scrivener: Some people swear by it, others swear by other software. I like it, and would love to have received it as a gift, but maybe download a few trials of different software for her and see which one she likes, then make the purchase.
    Query letter resources: Helpful, but a still a bit of a stretch for someone who hasn't written their novel. Focusing on the final product can be distracting.
    Headphones: Great gift for most people, writer or not.

    ETA: @izzybot beat me to it.
  4. Aled James Taylor

    Aled James Taylor Contributor Contributor

    Sep 7, 2013
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    I'd go with a USB pen drive, as backup can be an issue. And a big fancy key-ring to go on it, as she might lose the device otherwise. I actually use a pen drive for primary storage and the PC's hard disk as my backup (I can then write using any computer and don't have to worry about editing a less than up-to-date file).
  5. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

    Oct 12, 2015
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    On the Road.
    Notebooks and pens - to take with her wherever she goes. You could also put some encouraging quotes at the first page, for the personal touch.
    Sack-a-Doo! likes this.
  6. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributor Contributor

    Jun 7, 2015
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    Yeah, I agree with other responders about the USB pen drive... or maybe an actual pen (a relatively nice one, but not too expensive) and a small leather-bound notebook to carry around for ideas.

    Anything more than that just seems too much for someone you're just getting to know.

    And buying her software seems a tad presumptuous. Choice of software is far too subjective unless she's talked about wanting it, but even then she'd have to talk about it in terms of it being the best thing since sliced bread before I'd consider it.
  7. Lea`Brooks

    Lea`Brooks Contributor Contributor

    May 11, 2013
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    Virginia, United States
    If you're making her a "writer's kit," you can give her a lot of stuff without seeming to come on too strong.
    • Pens/pencils
    • Notebooks, regular and small (to keep in her purse)
    • A coffee mug with some kind of writer's quote on it
    • Some cute note cards or Postits
    • A book on how to get published
    • A book on writing -- either prompts or grammar (I have a book called The Writer's Devotional, which includes daily tasks to keep creativity up. It has a beautiful cover, which is the only reason I bought it. :p)
    • A wall hanging with an inspirational quote on it
    We like all sorts of things. :p
  8. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

    Sep 6, 2014
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    I don't know about her passion or determination, but be aware that a LOT of people talk about writing a book and very few get further than the first few pages. It's a lot of hard work.

    I think you need to walk a fine line between being supportive and sweet and being pressuring and over-the-top. I definitely agree that the ideas about agents and publication are too much--that could be a gift for next year, maybe? (Or a subscription to Publishers' Marketplace, so she can make the decisions herself...)

    Little gifts that show you support her ambition are lovely. Bigger gifts that might make it feel as if you're over-invested in her dream? They might be a little much...
  9. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

    Aug 8, 2015
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    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    I think something fun and whimsical were in order in this circumstance. So I recommend something simple that is a step of encouragement.
    Going off the deep end for someone you don't know very well could backfire, as some have already stated.
    It is a gift to a potential friend and writer, so it should not be over the top. Just have fun with it, and you should be alright. :)
  10. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Supporter Reviewer Contributor

    Jul 17, 2008
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    I would get her a book she doesn't already own (perhaps a sci-fi novel). You can find some very nice editions of books at used bookstores for reasonable prices. Personally, I wouldn't like it if someone gave me writing-related gifts like that.
  11. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

    May 21, 2009
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    Just make sure the notebook is a Moleskine :D

    Only kidding - there's loads of Moleskine knock-offs nowadays, just as good and a fraction of the price. Having said that, genuine Moleskines aren't that expensive if you buy them online.
    minstrel likes this.
  12. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Jul 7, 2016
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    That's a lot of stuff to give someone who plans to write a novel. If I told someone I was going to write a novel and they gave me all that shit, well, it could could just put added pressure on this girl. Let her just write and see how it goes. It sounds like she hasn't even started. You've got to let her test out this writing thing before you overload with extras. I get that you're trying to be thoughtful with this, but I think it really could scare her off from writing and from you. Give her a copy of your favorite novel. That's still personal and probably more appropriate.

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