NaNoWriMo: Selecting the Appropriate Tool

Category: Writing

Choosing the best writing tool for the job, a beginner's guide.

1) The sharpened stone This is popular amongst aspiring cavemen and proves itself to be a very handy multi tool. Not only can the stone be used to write with, but it is also useful for killing and skinning animals too (because it has a very sharp point). This means trips to the local supermarket to buy your sunday joint will no longer be necessary.

However, there are some big disadvantages to choosing this instrument to write your novel. To begin with, it might take you the whole of NaNoWriMo to actually make the tool in the first place. Secondly, you will have to find a cave wall to inscribe your wonderfully thought out words onto (paper won't work, believe me) and thirdly you are likely to get lots of blisters. The combination of these three factors might mean that you never get past day one.


2) The quill pen

The quill pen was the pen of choice for over one thousand years and is probably the most romantic of writing instruments. Indeed it was used by Shakespeare to pen all those wonderful sonnets. It is aesthetically pleasing (though not for the bird whose wing it was plucked from) and it will look great on any writing desk.

But, as with the stone, there are also significant disadavantages to the quill pen. The first one being that it will have to be replaced every week, due to its fragility. This uses up a lot of pennies, and as your are, no doubt, a poor impoverished writer, this will not do. The quill end will also have to be sharpened frequently using a pen-knife. If you are not a responsible adult, this means that you will have to request that one stays with you at all times. This is quite a big ask for anyone, even your mum. 


3) The plastic ballpoint pen

The ballpoint pen is not the sexiest of writing instruments but very practical and really quite cheap. Unlike the quill pen, there will be no issues with ink puddles on your manuscript or the need for a knife either, unless you are trying to imagine a murder scene for your bestselling crime fiction novel.

This pen in particular is a bit of a winner. On the side it says: 'Pen to write masterpiece with.' It costs £1.50, but I am sure that if you don't write a masterpiece during NaNoWriMo, you can ask for your money back.


4) The USB Typewriter

I think the picture speaks for itself. You probably can't afford one, but please feel free to send cheques/bank notes/ large sums of money so that I can. 


Tomorrow: Kirsty Logan on how to survive NaNoWriMo.

Megan Primrose

Megan Primrose is the Writer Development Intern at the Scottish Book Trust.