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Sunday, March 26 2017 @ 12:24 PM EST

Writing Toolbox Guest Post - James O'Keefe

Writing Toolbox Intro: In this ongoing series of guest posts, I've invited a number of other authors to come along and show us what is in their Writing Toolbox, and tell us a little about how they approach the more 'mechanical' aspects of story writing. This week, South Australian author James O'Keefe shares the contents of his Writer's Toolbox...
 
My Writing Toolbox consists of quite a few items. In no particular order:
 
Laptop - I do most of my writing on my laptop which I can carry around the house, sit outside, take away on holiday etc. For most of my writing I use the software called...
 
Scrivener (www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php) - I’ve heard both pros and cons to using it but since it was only a small investment of US$40 I have found it to be worth the price. I do use this on conjunction with Microsoft Word. Generally I will start with the basic idea, whether it’s the ending, a character, a situation etc, which I will jot down into Word (which I have also installed on my phone). Once the basic idea is there, I snowflake the idea out (although this sometimes depends on the idea, as I do pantser it at times, rather than plotting it out). Once the Snowflake is developed, I open up Scrivener and transfer what I have snowflaked out into Scrivener. The story is broken down into scenes, so as part of the corkboard feature, the snowflake sentence/paragraph is used on the scene header. Once this is down, I start writing. Scrivener does have an Outline feature like Word has, but I haven’t tried it out yet. Once the first draft is done, I can export this to Word and play around in there.
 
Hemingway (www.hemingwayapp.com) - A great tool that I use here and there for picking up on any adverb usage (happens far less now that I’m more aware of using them) but also picking up on any passive voice passages. I then highlight them in Word and set about to rewriting them so they are active.
 
When it comes to research, I use Google, Wikipedia and any other source of information I come across. I quite often save these pages to PDF files and then can import them into Scrivener for use later, particularly if there are numerous sources for what I have researched. Having that at a simple click in the software is better than having to print out stacks and stacks of pages for them to be only used a few times.
 
Headphones and Music - I find that when I am writing, I listen to a lot of music. This will vary and quite often I turn iTunes to random and get end up writing to whatever comes along. Other times I’m in the mood for something specific which adds to the moods of my scenes as I’m writing them.
 
Coffee - Coffee is great!
 
Dropbox (www.dropbox.com) - All my work is saved to my Dropbox folder. This is handy when I am working in something in Word, which I can open on my iPhone and work when out and about. This is also helps when I come up with an idea that I put into Word and save to my Dropbox folder to use later when I am back home.
 
Biography
James O'Keefe is an author living in Adelaide. He was a co-facilitator of the Riverland Creative Writing Group until he moved back to Adelaide. He is married with 2 kids, working full time and writing when he has a chance. He dreams of selling that best seller someday. http://jamesokeefewriter.wordpress.com/
 
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