Do you have an amazing writer in your life? Are you looking for that special gift that honors their work and shows your unwavering support? Has your house been taken over by notebooks, colored pens, and the like?
Fear not! I’ve got suggestions that will earn you serious points with the novelist you love!
*The Amazon links below are affiliated (meaning I earn a small commission off of any sales, but it does not impact your price.) I only recommend products that I am familiar with and enjoy. The links that do not lead to an Amazon page are not affilated.
You might not know right off hand if your writer is a plotter or a pantser*, but any writer can make use of a good planner.
*If you really don’t know, ASK! It will make for an interesting conversation.
I recommend The Novel Planner or one of the Plot Your Work series. These are not your run-of-the-mill date books. They are designed specifically for writers to plan out plots, timelines, character arcs, etc.
For keeping track of word counts, contract dates, and book launches, a nice regular planner works well. I LOVE my Happy Planner. You could even include a suggestion to check out Sarra Cannon’s video series on how she uses her Happy Planner to plot her books!
My Resources for Writer’s page is full of craft book suggestions, and I add new ones all the time. These books are usually available on Kindle, but often writers prefer to have craft books in print. It’s so much easier to mark them up with highlighters and post-it notes that lead you right to what you’re looking for with print.
Books that your writer can use no matter what their process are the thesauruses (thesauri?) by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. These are not the average collection of synonyms you’d expect to find in a thesaurus.
For example The Rural Setting Thesaurus lists sights, sounds, smells, tastes, textures and sensations, possible sources of conflict, people commonly found here and much more for each setting. Start with The Emotional Thesaurus and check out the “also boughts” for more suggestions.
Subscription to One Stop for Writers
Speaking of Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, they also run the absolutely fabulous website OneStopForWriters.com. I LOVE this place! It is a writer’s playground with thesauruses, plot generators, templates, checklists, tons of other tools, and a workspace to link it all! And they offer gift certificates!
Subscription to Publishers Weekly or Writer’s Digest or a Membership to a Professional Organization.
When you’re working to get published, current industry information can be vital. Both Publishers Weekly and Writer’s Digest offer articles, reviews, tips, etc. A membership to a professional organization can also be extremely valuable and many include a subscription to their publication. Find out what genre your writer loves and check these out:
MS Word or Google Docs can be hard to manage when you are writing a 90K word manuscript. Scrivener is a favorite among authors. When I’m working on my own novels, I use it exclusively. It lets you create a notebook to hold chapters that can easily be accessed or moved if you decide a plot point has changed. There are virtual index cards, a place for character sketches, setting information, and much more. Definitely a must-have in my opinion.
Outlining Your Novel Workbook is my other favorite. This is a program based on KM Weiland’s book by the same name. I adore it! If you hear your writer struggling with story structure, this is what they need!
My degree is in education. When I left teaching and decided to write full-time, I wasn’t in a position to go back to college for a MFA, luckily there is a multitude of online classes available for writers at every level of the craft.
Every writer should take R. L. Syme’s Writer Better-Faster. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was life-changing for me. Despite the title, it isn’t about learning to write fast. It is about learning yourself and applying your specific strengths to your writing process.
Admission to a Writing Conference
If you’ve never been to a writing conference or aren’t a writer yourself, it’s hard to understand the atmosphere and energy that surrounds these events. Just being immersed with so many other people who start conversations with, “What do you write?” instead of “Where do you work?” or “Which kids belong to you?” is so freeing for a writer, especially those of us who work from home most of the time.
These conferences are packed with classes, lectures, networking, and free books!
My first conference was DFWCon. I made friends and connections there that gave me the encouragement I needed to risk my career change when the opportunity arose.
Romance Writer’s of America has a fantastic national conference which is held in a different state every year. For mystery, suspense, or thriller writers there is Killer Nashville, ThrillerFest and Bouchercon.
Local chapters of writing associations often hold their own smaller cons as well. Google “writing conference” and your location and see what comes up!
Subscription to a Stock Photo Site or Canva
The business of writing is much more than putting words on a page and praying someone likes them. Authors have to be marketers these days. We maintain websites, blogs, Pinterest pages, etc. Independent authors often need photos for covers, promotional swag, and other advertising tools. A subscription to a stock photo site such as BigStockPhoto, ShutterStock, or iStockPhoto can be a huge benefit.
Canva is another great resource for writers. This is a graphic designing program that can be used to create images for any of the needs mentioned above. It has images that can be bought individually or included in a monthly plan.
Travel to the Setting of Their Story
Several years ago I wrote an pivotal scene in a thriller that took place at a park in Dallas. I’d scoped the pictures online. Figured out exactly how everything need to go and poured out thousands of words.
One afternoon my husband and I had a rare day to ourselves. We wanted to be outside in the spring sunshine so he offered to take me to the park in my story.
*cue disappointed sighing.
The place was about 1/3 of how big it looked online. The setting around it wasn’t right, and there was no way my villain could’ve gotten away in the direction I sent him.
If your writer is using a real location (and it isn’t the place you live—that doesn’t count) take them on a surprise trip to their setting. Then, and this is a key component, let them have plenty of time to wander around and absorb.
Don’t be like, “Yep. That’s the lake. Ready to go?”
Give them time to imagine their characters and block out the scene. Let them take lots of pictures.
Warning: If it isn’t as grand as they imagined it, be prepared to offer comfort food (ice cream or chocolate is usually appropriate.)
Gift Certificate for Story Coaching or Editing Services
Writing can be lonely and sometimes confusing. Sometimes a set of fresh eyes or a conversation with someone who knows the process and can help strategize a new direction is just what a writer needs to push through the hard spots.