The Writer's Toolkit - Notebook Edition

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Vanessa Westermann

· 2 min read

I love brainstorming on paper. There’s nothing like a blank sheet (no lines) and the speed of a fountain pen to free the imagination. Scribbling ideas down any which way feels like play, not work. No rules, no expectations. Just the scratch of ink, leaving marks on the page. And who cares if they make sense?

That’s the beauty of it. Sometimes my notes read like a Q&A as I try to puzzle out a problem.

The connection between Mr. Wendell and Adriana! Revealed more so through Kate?

How has he studied how killers / predators think? Or simply empathy???

Sometimes I jot down tips I’ve picked up from other writers.

SUSPENSE is when the reader makes the discovery with the character. Short sentences but specific in the details. Not too emotional.

And many, many sentence fragments. Dialogue, description. The notes about the warrior dream in the picture below, ended up in Chapter 36 in An Excuse For Murder.

Vanessa's notebooks

At the moment, I’m working on revisions to my latest manuscript. I’ve always liked editing. The first draft (typed on a Word doc.) is there—no matter how rough—and now I get to take a step back and start polishing the story. This is the part of the process that’s all about the reader.

I’m currently going through the MS with a Faber Castell mechanical pencil. The 0.5 lead writes smoothly and is tough enough to withstand the pressure. Plus, it has a built-in eraser.

1920s art deco ink well set

One of my favourite items on my desk is a 1920s art deco ink well set. Only $10 in a vintage shop, it was irresistible. The wood needed some refinishing, but now it glows. I like to imagine the decades of black ink that spilled fresh ideas onto the page. Recording thoughts.

Stephen King said, writing is “an act of telepathy”. A meeting of minds between reader and writer that transcends space and time.

How do you record your thoughts? Share your writer’s toolkit.

Tag me on Twitter @VanessasPicks!

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About Vanessa Westermann

Vanessa is a Canadian crime writer. She is the author of Cover Art and other books. At the heart of all of her stories are strong female protagonists.

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