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Pen IN Hand
Gift Horse For Writers
By Peggy Bechko
December, 2005, 21:14

ift-giving time. Again.

So I'll do my bit for my fellow writers. Iíll spell it out for ya all. Iíll touch on every budget, too, so come on along for the ride.

Books about writing, for neophytes, are always welcome. Theyíre some good ones, too. Thereís Writerís Market, both hard copy and the online subscription, is for when one is looking to sell work. The Hollywood Creative Directory provides lots of leads on where to market a screenplay. Then thereís Skip Pressís Ultimate Writerís Guide To Hollywood, Jason Surrellís Screenplay By Disney and Stephen Kingís book On Writing. For a laugh, try Fondling Your Muse by John Warner. Or try buying your writer a novel in his or her genre.

If youíve got the budget, a new thin, flat-screen for the computer system is an incredible blessing. No flicker, much less eye strain for those who sit in front of it for hours at a time. A high-speed printer (inkjets frequently have higher speed printing than laser) is a wonderful addition to any office. And donít forget the more basic things a writer needs like cartridges for that printer.

Thinking of software? Look into Movie Magicís Screenwriter for the script writer. For the writer of books thereís a new software package called New Novelist. Itís recommended for the new writer or the professional. Iíve had my copy for only a short time, but have found it helpful already, allowing for the learning curve involved.

Magazine subscriptions are always appropriate for writers. Thereís The Writer magazine, Writerís Digest, and Book to name a handful. Dash down to your local magazine shop, buy a copy of the magazine and send in the subscription card. Wrap the magazine with a note indicating the subscription.

On a tight budget? Donít let the little things pass you by. Make up a small basket or gift bag filled with any combination of things like good pens (black and colored), paperclips, paper and envelopes, post it flags and notes, eraser, note pads small and large, highlighters, fine-line Sharpies, staples and stapler.

Other supplies needed by most writers are things like three-ring notebooks and plastic sheet protectors. Plastic expanding folders are good for storing bits and pieces of a developing or ongoing project. Plastic file boxes hold archived projects and old files.

For the journal-keepers on your list think about a really nice journal. They come in everything from clothbound to leather to metal. 

And speaking of storage, most writers would welcome CDs, floppies or thumb drives (or jump drives or whatever the local office supply store calls the new, small USB drives). Most would also welcome a small rolodex for desk top. I have mine divided into two sections: professional contacts and web information.

The first section is obvious. The second contains an alphabetized area where I store information regarding websites, passwords, virus protection, software registration and tech support numbers.

So, thereís your list if youíre buying for a writer. Now get out there and get shopping! If youíre a writer and want to give hints to get something you really need, print this and post it on your family or friendsí refrigerator, email it or just give Ďem a call.

Happy gift giving -- and receiving -- now and throughout the year!IN Icon

Author of Doubleday western novels, Harlequin romances, Fictionworks' fantasies (Ebook format), Peggy Bechko has also optioned screenplays domestically and abroad, written for an animated series and for variety of other venues. She's working on a new novel and collaborating on a animated series.

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