Christmas Gifts for Writers

A Google search for gifts for writers(or photographers or gardeners) and out comes a list of blogs to newspapers, all advising what to buy. I noticed that only one or two items on each list interested me, so I’ve put together my own. Some are expensive, some not.

1) A writers’ retreat. My favourites are the Writescape retreats organized by Ruth Walker and Gwynne Scheltema. Find them at

2) Scrivener, a superb writing programme from the folks at Literature and Latte. I’ve been using this gem through two books now and couldn’t do without out. It replaces everything from research notes on random bits of paper to character biographies kept in notebooks without a search function. It   allows the generation of a rudimentary plot synopsis and a virtual corkboard on which scenes can be repositioned. I could go on and on, but try it for a month. Now available for Windows.

3) Pens: To record those thoughts that would other wise be lost. I like Staples Optiflow: ca709364grp_1_std







4) Books on writing: I love to read books about writing. Writers Digest has a good selection, but there are others:

1. Stephen King, On Writing

2.David Morell: Lessons for a Lifetime of Writing

3.William Brohaugh: Write Tight

4. P. D. James: Talking About Detective Fiction

5. Sol Stein: On Writing

6. Jack Hodgins; a Passion for Narrative

5) A Kindle: Writers need to read everywhere and a Kindle is handy on the subway, in a bus, on that trip to  Europe.

7) Coffee maker, coffee mugs, coffee.

8) A web design package, perhaps from Linda Lyall who did Louise Penny’s

9) A smart phone with a camera, because you never know when the perfect scene to jumpstart your imagination will pop up in front of you. (The phone is always in your pocket, unlike your SLR)

10) Time, uninterrupted. If she has children, offer to babysit. If she needs a day away, offer your cottage, or pay for one day in a lovely B&B. I like the Gardener’s Cottage near Elora.

Gifts for Writers

To follow on my gifts for… theme, here are some gifts for the writers you know.

1) Self-editing for writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. Collins 2nd edition 2004. Great information, exercises and examples for the writer who must edit her own work(and who doesn’t?)

2)Scene and Structure by Jack M. Bickham. Writers Digest Books 1993 Understand how scenes and sequels interrelate to give structure to your fiction.

3)Writing the Breakout Novel  by Donald Maass. Writers Digest Books 2001 Donald Maass is and agent and author who gives invaluable advice.

4) The entire Write Great Fiction series from Writers Digest Books.

5) A selection of Hype! highliters from Staples for marking up your own work and these books.

6)Scrivener, a writing, organizing programme from Literature and Latte. Easy to use once you get onto it, and a terrific way to organize thoughts, research, drafts, scenes, characters, locations…and so on.

7) An over-sized Sustainable Earth notebook from Staples

8) Pens, lots of them. I use OptiFlow.

9) An eReader, any one, (but I use a KOBO) for taking books with you on vacation, or even storing your own work as pdf files.

!0) Stephen King’s book, On Writing. Pocket Books 2002. Available for that eReader. A biography of the writer as well as his thoughts and guidance on the craft.

11) Last but not least Turning Leaves Writer’s Retreat from Writescape