Every writer has a few essential items that they like to keep by them when they write. Something to speed the writing process along, heighten the imagination, or contribute to the flow of inspiration.
My personal writing companions include:
The Synonym Finder by J. I. Rodale – Can’t find the word you’re looking for? The synonym finder is the book for you. Over 1 million synonyms make it the largest thesaurus in print. I’ve found it to be much more helpful than online thesauruses (or is it thesauri?). It’s quite useful (serviceable, advantageous, functional, employable) to have on hand.
The New American Dictionary of First Names compiled by Leslie Dunkling and William Gosling.
Another extremely helpful book. It lists over 10,000 names and provides a little of the history for each name as well as its meaning. Even if I don’t use the names from the book, just looking through it helps point me in the right direction.
I like to use a lot of names/words that reflect Gaelic origin, so a lot of times I’ll search online lists as well. Quite often, I’ll used modified version of a name or word – I write fantasy so I can get away with that. That way I know where the word comes from and the meaning behind the word, but I get to add my own little twist.
Maps – I almost always draw a map for the fantasy world I’m exploring at the moment. I’ve always loved maps (I spent hours poring over atlases growing up – and studying the Middle Earth map) so I’ve always loved drawing my own. It helps me visualize the country and figure out distances – because even though it’s fantasy it has to be realistic, right?
Books – There is always a pile of inspirational books on weaponry, life in the middle ages, and my favorite fantasy books sitting by my desk within easy reach. Pictures of sailing ships silhouetted against the sunset or flying before a gale wind are also a necessity. Nothing like a ship to stir the imagination and send you flying to far off places.
Epic music! I almost always listen to music while I type. It can’t have any words to it, because then I get distracted singing along, so I generally pick movie soundtracks. Gladiator. The Lord of the Rings. Narnia. Braveheart. Great ones like that.
And Dr. Pepper. Ah, there’s nothing like a good sip of Dr. Pepper to help a writer think straight! :)
Well, those are some of my writing companions. What are some items that you find essential to a day of writing?