Writing Tools Recap

writer's tools

Shirley recaps on her “Writing Tools”, to help you write that story!

I’ve written a number of posts now that we’re calling Writing Tools. I plan to add more, but I thought it’d be useful to do a round-up of those so far so that you can quickly link to each one from here.

So, the most recent one was Names – how you name your character,  what you’re trying to achieve with your choice of name, and how important the right, or wrong, name is to your reader’s perception.

I’ve covered How Many Words, that old chestnut about word counts and story lengths. In this one I’ve tried to explain our process and why we’re so specific about our story length requirements.

Location is about where you set your story, how not to let an exotic location overwhelm the essence of your story, and how much of the location to filter in as backdrop. Oh, and tips on how to fake it!

So Many Tools

Let’s see, what else have I covered? Oh, yes, Inspiration: where to find it, how to listen out for it and spot it, and then what to do with it.

Genres was an interesting one and, hand in hand with How Many Words and Themes, probably one of the most essential tools in your toolkit. Genres are the types of story that we look for; things like young romance, mature romance….They’ll keep you on the right lines in terms of our requirements.

And the first one I wrote was Themes, which is the essential element that any short story needs, and I explain why in that particular post.

I’ve got lots more of these Writing Tools in mind, all prompted by issues and question that have arisen at the People’s Friend writing workshops or other workshops where I’ve guested. In the next one I’ll be looking at Research.

But if there’s any topic you wish I would cover, pop it in the comments below and ask me, and I’ll do my best.

Writer’s Tool Kit Checklist







Word Count




Shirley Blair

Fiction Ed Shirley’s been with the “Friend” since 2007 and calls it her dream job because she gets to read fiction all day every day. Hobbies? Well, that would be reading! She also enjoys writing fiction when she has time, long walks, travel, and watching Scandi thrillers on TV.