My Tools of the Trade

Everyone uses different things when they write. Some people are strictly paper people, never touching a computer or typewriter unless it’s absolutely necessary. Some people can only use electronics and never write anything out on paper.

I do both.

When I was younger (and this was WAY before the days when computers were everywhere and in every home) I strictly used paper and pen. I used to ask for notebooks and pens for Christmas and my birthday because I was always filling them up. One story ‘series’ I wrote when I was 13 was a mish-mash of yellow legal pad paper, lined paper and graph paper because that was all I could get my hands on. It ended up being 120 pages written, double-sided but single spaced.

Unfortunately I have a lost all of my previous work due to unforeseen circumstances (*cough*assholeexboyfriends*cough*) so I’ve had to go off of memory when I try to rewrite them. I remember the core parts of the story, so I suppose that’s all that really matters if I want to write it again.

These days I use both.

I use my laptop:

The majority of my writing is done on this lovely piece of technology these days.

The majority of my writing is done on this lovely piece of technology these days.

And I also use this:

Given to me by my in-laws, it holds character descriptions, maps, story basics and outlines

Given to me by my in-laws, it holds character descriptions, maps, story basics and outlines

I have another coil notebook that I used for previous stories I have written. It holds the same information as well as a list of names for males, females and places so that I can make sure I’m not using the same name in every story I write. The other book doesn’t have quite the same inspirational message though 🙂

I find this useful because when I’m typing furiously away on my laptop if I suddenly forget the colour of one of my characters eyes I can flip to the character description page in this book without having to sift through god knows how much text to find the answer.

It also helps me keep personalities in check, relationships in line, and ages realistic.

Depending on the story, I’ll also draw a little (crude) map of the world my story takes place in. This helps me determine accurate time frames for traveling, weather, culture etc. I’m building worlds here, so I need to make sure I don’t screw up!

Since I write Fantasy-Adventure stories, I find this crucial. Sure, my readers may not be paying as much attention to these details as I am, but I want to make sure it’s believable. I’m sure there’s someone out there in this vast universe who just might pay that much attention to what they read.

What do you use? What do you find useful?

My husband also bought me a Samsung Galaxy Tab that I am looking for a bluetooth keyboard and case for so I can bring it to work in place of my laptop as it will be smaller and easier to tote around everywhere. I NEED a keyboard though. I will NEVER be able to type using the onscreen one. No way.

How about you?

Posted by Sarah Jayne


Awesome post! I use my laptop, iphone, and pen and paper. When finishing my last book, it was much easier to just hand write it using paper in pen in my car during my lunch breaks. When it came to transcribing it, I used my bluetooth keyboard and my iphone to type it all up, then email it to myself so I could copy and paste it into the Word document on my laptop at home.

Sarah Jayne Nantais

I never think of using a bluetooth keyboard with a phone. Maybe I’m just behind the times 🙂 That’s really interesting that you use similar pieces to what I do.
Lunch time is always the best time to write/edit, isn’t it? 🙂


I use a Zagg keyboard ( with my iPad – they make keyboards for android as well. I really like it and know several others who use them too. I have been using an application called ‘Scrivener’ ( for my dissertation writing. It is meant for writing of all kinds including novels. It was originally Mac only, but I think there is a WIndoze version now too.

Yeah, I’ve dropped aouhtrs because I’d been disappointed. Hate doing that because there was obviously something there that really resonated with me at least in the beginning. Does the author just get lazy? Does he/she just lose their touch? I’d love to know what the turning point is if only to avoid it in my own writing in the future.That’s the biggest danger with publishers who are only pushing their big names. If that big name doesn’t deliver, the publisher just wasted a lot of time and money not to say the book slot that could have gone to a fabulous up and coming new author who just might become MY next favorite.

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