Here are my top writing tools:

Notebook and pen. Despite the presence of a smartphone in my purse, I still capture those fleeting ideas with a pen and notebook. My ipad is fun, but it has not been the writing tool I thought it would be. I keep intending for it to be, but somehow, it doesn’t quite work. Maybe the technology has not reached the comfort level of a battered notebook and a favorite pen. Yeah. That must be it.

So I mostly use the ipad for social networking and web browsing.

Microsoft Word. Because of the Document Map–renamed the Navigation Pane–no other slick, cool writing tool has replaced Microsoft Word for me. I could not do without the Document Map.

I use the Document Map as a plotting tool, along with Word Styles. For the fairy tale I am working on now, I have about 30 named scenes that serve as a basic outline of the entire story. Years ago, I wrote a bunch of articles on how I use Microsoft Word. (The link goes to the article on the document map) I am thinking about updating it, but I’ll need to make a withdrawal from the Time Bank for that.

TiddlyWiki. I use this for my story bible, which I call my gazetteer. Every serious story gets a gazetteer. The value in TiddlyWiki is I can link everything together, so a main character will look  something like this:

TiddlyWiki screenshot for Beauty and the Beast retelling. Click to enlarge.

The above is a spoilery screenshot for the fairy tale I am working on now. See how everything is linked together, so you have character and concept relationships at a glance. This is accomplished so easily by means of WikiWords (which look just like that), [brackets] around words for WikiWords consisting of one word, and the use of special characters to build tables. My husband loves it as well.

Hubby. Speaking of my husband, he is also my instacritic. Every writer should have one. He gets to listen to all my stories read aloud. He helps me make decisions. He helps me with does-it-make-sense checks. And most important–he supports me in this writing habit, and believes that I could do it full time.

And really–that’s it. I wanted to have a list of five, but I really only have four.

Got any recommendations?