Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Writing Kits I'd Buy

I spotted another writing kit the last time I was at BAM, and decided to buy it to play with in December after NaNoWriMo (nothing is getting between me and my novel this month.) Naturally I had to open it to see all the bits and pieces, and there were some books and a pack of cards, and it all seemed pretty nice (I'll write up a real post about it after NaNo, when I've had a chance to test-drive it.)

The only problem I saw was that it is basically more of the same thing I've seen before, which boils down to a self-starter kit: "What to write if you're depressed, blocked, or otherwise completely clueless as to what you should write." As those are definitely not my usual problems, it made me think about the sort of kits for writers that I'd like to see put on the market. More realistic, genuinely helpful stuff for writers who don't need a jumpstart would have to cover a lot more ground, I think.

My first pick would have to be this one: 1001 Ways to Describe Your Novel Setting Without Falling Asleep and Drooling All Over Your Keyboard. Then maybe one for unruly characters who don't want to follow my outline: The All-Purpose Make 'Em March to Your Tune Character Repair Tool Box. I wonder if Dremmel could make an attachment for that. I should call them.

I'd absolutely need this one for those days when the pups want to play more than they want me to write: Placating Pet Strategies for Busy Writers (manuscript-shaped chew toys included!). Also one for the high school kid: 200 Pre-recorded Variations of "Those Other Girls Are Just Jealous of You" "Your Nose is Not As Big as a Toyota" and "You Are Wearing That to School Only Over My Dead Body". I think I'd need some bonus ear plugs in that one.

It doesn't have to be a kit per se, either. I'd love to see a lovely Quick Recovery From a Bad Writer Friendship gift basket, or some nice Stop Backtracking and Editing Before You Ruin The Damn Thing velvet-lined blinders and handcuffs. Wouldn't those make terrific holiday gifts for writer friends, too? I think a Ignoring the Indifferent Editor motivational CD would be a hot seller, as would a Getting Even with My Evil Critique Partner planner. A My Agent Doesn't Hate Me, He's Just Not Returning My Calls Because He's Really, Really Busy pacifier might work if it can't be chewed through, but the Surviving Horrible Cover Art wubbie would have to come with a bunch of extras (I'd donate the chocolate-covered Valium). So would the Hatchet Job Review First Aid kit.

All right, it's your turn: what sort of realistic writer kit would you like to see on the market? Tell us in comments.


  1. I dream of a writing kit that dispenses zaps or chocolate, depending on what I'm doing. Scheduled to be writing at 9am, but I'm streaming TV instead? Electric shocks that just get bigger and less comfortable the longer I avoid it. Butt in chair, actually working on what I'm supposed to be? Box drops a choco chip every x minutes, with a big sparkly star sticker when I hit my goal for the day.

    At least I know I come by my procrastination naturally- my father can channel surf with the best of them....

  2. I'd like 'How to write subplots that ARE relevant and have nothing to do with scoring the hottest boy in school as your first boyfriend even though that super-popular cheerleader has her eye on him.'

    But I'd certainly be lining up to buy your one on novel setting, it's as if it was made for me :-)

    NaNo on!

  3. Hilarious :)

    yes, I could use a few of those kits too!

  4. 50 Ways to Motivate Your Character would be on my must-buy list. With bonus Reasonable Explanations for a Sane Person to Do THAT.

  5. Heh. I know-something that actually lets you pretend you're in control. Somehow. An "I am too in control" kit.


  6. I LOVE these! It would certainly be an improvement over all the well-meaning gift baskets of rose-scented body wash that I keep getting.

    (On a side note, some of the concepts behind what you're talking about, I get out of Holly Lisle's writing courses. If you really are seeking the concepts behind some of those gift baskets, it would be a recommended place to start! /fangirl)

  7. I'd buy the 1001 Ways to Describe Your Novel Setting Without Falling Asleep and Drooling All Over Your Keyboard.

  8. The Hatchet Job Review First Aid kit would be nice. I could really use one of those.

  9. These are great, lol.

    Maybe a "keep your eyes on your own paper" kit, complete with frowning nun wielding a ruler?

  10. Ok, don't want the shock box anymore. I'm sure my bank account would prefer it, but at this point I'd kill for a "make your character stay who you tell him to be" kit.

    Or maybe "Disciplinary naming for fun and torture"...

    Stupid hero, refusing to be a nice boring white guy. Makin' me research. He keeps this crap up he'll be Jesus Greenwald before he knows it, and I don't care *how* unsexy it is...

  11. The kit I use all the time is Maass's Workbook.
    But yes, a kit that makes you do it, that keeps you writing would be great.

  12. I actually made myself a editing kit once, because I am just that silly. It was pretty crude, but it was fun. I took a big list of writing tips (I forget where I saw them, but they were tips for editing for pros; word usage, common grammar snafus, etc.) Then I went to Random.org and generated a random number and picked a tip and applied it to that day's editing. It made editing more fun, which I can always use, because I loathe editing (ick ick ick). I, er, may have decorated the editing list with sticky stars, too. Heh.

    I would most like to see two kits: how to entertain your dog so they don't get bored while you're trying to write and one that reminds me to finish the novel I'm working on and not get caught up in the fresh! new! shiny! idea that is trying to seduce me away.

  13. I need the "truth wrangler" kit. The one you use when you've read so much conflicting advice on agent/editor blogs that you start to think it ALL applies to you, and perhaps the agents/editors are talking about you personally, even though you've never queried them.

  14. I think a Quit Backspacing And Just Get The Words On The Paper blinders would work.


    If I remember to put them on...

    But I really like yours! :o)

  15. Anonymous6:05 PM

    ROFL, getting even with my evil critique partner? Don't I already do that by doing a hatchet job on his manuscript? If you turned this into a strategy game, writers could use the techniques against each other, use counter-moves...

    I LOVE this post.

    I think the "My Agent Doesn't Hate Me" pacifier should also come with a keyboard steering wheel lock to prevent one from emailing said agent :)



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