5 Great Gifts for Writers (to fit any budget)


fourcoversThe Paperclip Method: The Novel Writer’s Tool Kit

The Paperclip Method includes four innovative workbooks to help first-time novelists through every step of the process.

Why they’ll love it: For a small fraction of the price of a writing workshop, the writer in your life will get inspired, find his voice, and write the novel he’s always wanted to write. Packed with writing exercises, in-depth articles on narrative craft, and a step-by-step guide to writing, structuring, and revising your novel.

The price: $29 (25% off the regular price of $39) when you order by Dec. 3

Get The Paperclip Method


An Online Writing Class

Any aspiring writer can benefit from an online writing class. Whether they’re just starting out, or they have a few unfinished novels tucked away in a drawer,  The Book Doctor has a class that will suit them. Choose from Fundamentals of Fiction, Advanced Fiction Workshop, the After NaNoWriMo Workshop (for writers who have completed NaNoWriMo), the Publishing Workshop, and more.

Why they’ll love it: All courses include weekly lectures, assignments, and discussion groups. The courses are self-paced, so the writer can begin the course at any time, for as long as he or she likes. With the membership bundle, the recipient will have access to every course.

The price: Courses start at just $39.

Get the online class Fundamentals of Fiction for just $29 (regularly $79) when you purchase by December 3.


Livescribe3 SmartPenLivescribe3 Examples

Remember the days of pen and ink? Livescribe3 looks and feels and acts like a pen, with actual ink that you use to write on actual paper, with one huge improvement over regular pen and paper: Livescribe 3 captures what you’re writing in real time, via the Livescribe app, automatically syncing to your IOS device.

Why They’ll Love It:  Everything you write can be synced automatically to Evernote, so that your handwriting can be searched in the same way you would search typed text. Write in the Livescribe Moleskine notebooks, spiral bound notebooks, or free paper your print yourself.

The Price:  $149.  (Update: Livescribe is offering $70 off its smartpens for cyber Monday. Get the deal.)

Go here to get Livescribe 3 or check out the other Livescribe products, including the Echo set for students.


Moleskine Classic Notebook: it’s classic, it’s practical, and every writer should have at least one. Hardbound, with smooth, gorgeous pages that beg to be filled with someone’s magnum opus

Why They’ll Love It: There’s nothing more inspiring than a beautiful notebook filled with blank pages.

The price: At just $12.91, you can make someone happy, even if you’re on a tight budget

Go here to get Moleskine notebooks from Amazon.



Modern ShortsModern Shorts: 18 Short Stories From Fiction Attic Press

A diverse collection of thought-provoking, beautifully written stories by emerging and established writers. Recommended for writers of short fiction, students of contemporary fiction, and anyone who loves a good story.

Why They’ll Love It: This anthology filled with cutting-edge fiction by unknown and emerging writers doesn’t just make for a great read. It is also inspiring: many of the writers published here are just starting out. Fiction Attic Press–the small, independent press behind this book–actively seeks fiction and memoir by new and unpublished writers.

The price: $14.99 for the paperback

Get the book


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5 Things About Writing I Wish I’d Known 20 Years Ago (Part 2)

When I published my first novel eleven years ago, I thought I’d finish another one within a couple of years. That’s because I thought that, having written one novel, the next one would be easier. Which brings me to:

Writing Truth # 2: Writing a novel never gets easier.

My fourth was just as difficult, if not more so, than my first. My fifth, the one I’ve recently turned in, was just as difficult to write as the rest of them. Through long experience I’ve finally accepted the fact that writing a novel never gets easier.

As I mentioned in How to Write a Novel, there’s no magic formula for novel writing. Each novel demands its own structure, its own pace, its own way of looking at the world.

Each time I complete a novel (and by complete, I mean very specifically the moment that I receive word from my publisher that the novel in its current state is ready for publication), I tell myself that I don’t know how I’ll have the patience to do it again. But patience is beside the point. Because by then, invariably, I’ve already started another novel, a novel I cannot bear to abandon, a novel that promises to be everything the last novel wasn’t, a novel that surely, certainly, will not be as difficult to write as every one that came before it.

I know, I know, the definition of insanity and all that. Call me Homer Simpson.

Where is the hope, then, for novelists, if this thing we do never gets easier? I take comfort from the ice skaters. Yes, the ice skaters. And, if I may be so bold, the aerospace engineers. It doesn’t get easier because it shouldn’t. Who wants to go back to the salcal when you can do a triple lutz? Who wants to merely go into orbit when you can go to Mars?

This metaphor implies, of course, that each novel is more complex than the last. That isn’t necessarily true. But with each new novel, your skill set is larger—or should be. That’s because you should have learned something from the process of writing the last one. Your first novel will probably teach you a lot about timing. Hopefully, it will teach you about clarity. But what it will not teach you is what shape the next novel should take. Because the shape of the story changes.

If it never gets easier, why do we do it—again and again and again? Most of us do it because we love it, and because, though we live by imagination, our imagination fails us on one particular point: we simply cannot imagine a life without writing. While such a life might very well be worth living, it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.

I take inspiration from one of my favorite books, a novella by Lars Gustafsson, The Death of a Beekeeper.

“Kind readers,” Gustafsson begins. “Strange readers. We begin again.”

And so, strange beings that we are, we begin again. The next novel, the next story, the next essay. And while it never gets easier, for this writer at least, it never gets boring. Each time you begin a new novel, you inhabit a new world. Each time you finish—finding, as most of us do, that the book you have written falls far short of the idea of the book you had intended to write—there is the hope of the next one. Today, the salcal. Tomorrow, the triple lutz. Carry on.

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best writing app

The best app for NaNoWriMo – 30 Day Novel

best NaNoWriMo app - 30 Day NovelWrite your novel in 30 days with the new app 30 Day Novel. Exercises, inspiration, and valuable advice to help you write a first draft of your novel from start to finish.

Why the 30 Day Novel app is the best NaNoWriMo app out there:

There are plenty of great word-counter apps, as well as apps that allow you to type text in a clean interface on your phone.  30 Day Novel app is different.  It’s a content-rich app that is as educational as it is inspirational. This is an app built by a writer, for writers.
Featuring a day-by-day guide to getting your novel on the page, plus helpful mini-lessons on plot, structure, characterization, dialogue, setting, voice, and more. In addition to the daily guide, a series of 500-word writing prompts will help you get past procrastination to get the bones of your story on the page. The Notes on Craft section includes in-depth articles on the finer points of narrative craft, as well as fascinating stories and advice from successful authors. In the Resources section, you’ll find workbooks, writing classes, and opportunities to submit your work for publication.

Want to write a novel? 30 Day Novel will help you reach the finish line. I developed this app for Fiction Attic Press–a small, independent press I run out of Northern California, which is dedicated to discovering and publishing new writers.

Get it now on the itunes app store.

Writer-friendly features:

  • Use the daily assignments to get your novel out of your head and onto the page.
  • Get a crash course in narrative craft with helpful mini-lessons on plot, structure, characterization, dialogue, setting, voice, and more.
  • A series of 500-word writing prompts will help you get past procrastination and get the bones of your story on the page.
  • The Notes on Craft section includes fascinating stories and advice from successful authors, as well as in-depth articles on the finer points of narrative craft.
  • In the Resources section, you’ll find innovative workbooks, exclusive discounts on writing classes, and opportunities to submit your work for publication, as well as an “ASK” button where you can get answers to your writing questions.
  • At the end of 30 days, you’ll have a first draft of your novel. Once you’re finished, learn the important next steps for revising and publishing your novel.
  • Even after you’ve completed the 30 days of assignments, you’ll find regularly updated content in the form of new 500-word writing prompts and additional notes on narrative craft.

If you’ve always wanted to write a novel but you don’t know where to begin, or if need inspiration and advice to draft your novel, the 30 Day Novel app is for you!


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Michaela Joy Garecht – still missing

Michaela Joy Garecht was kidnapped in Hayward, CA 26 years ago today–on November 19, 1988. She was nine years old. Her mother, Sharon Murch, is still searching for answers.Please share this age progression photo of Michaela & the composite of her suspected kidnapper. If you lived in or near Hayward at the time, please look closely at the photos. It is never too late to find answers.

Michaela Joy Garecht Age Progression (2012)   Michaela Joy Garecht, age 9   Suspect in the kidnapping of Michaela Joy Garecht

Location of kidnapping: the corner of Mission Boulevard and Lafayette in Hayward, CA. At that time it was called Rainbow Market. Today it is Mexico Super. Please share this age progression photo of Michaela and the composite of her suspected kidnapper.

Details (from the website Missing Michaela): “Witnesses described Michaela’s kidnapper as a man in his 20’s, with long, dirty-blonde hair. His most outstanding characteristic was severe acne, like boils. He was driving an older, tannish-gold, full-size sedan, boxy in shape, with body damage. The eyewitness noted his eyes. ‘He had fox eyes,’ she said…”

The case is yet to be solved. If you have any information, please call Inspector Robert Lampkin at the Hayward Police Department (510) 293-7079 Robert.Lampkin@hayward-ca.gov

Read about Michaela’s kidnapper here.

Visit Sharon Murch’s website for more information about the search for Michaela.

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Livescribe3 Brings the Romance Back to Writing

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my new love affair with the Livescribe3 smarten. Because the proof is in the pen, I thought I’d show you some images of the Livescribe3 at work. Here are the notebook pages in which I drafted this post by hand:

Livescribe3 ExamplesLivescribe3 ReviewLivescribe3 for Writers

And here is the partial transcription of my Livescribe3 notes. (On the Livescribe app, you transcribe y right-swiping your handwritten notes on your iPad or iPhone). As you can see, I don’t have the most legible handwriting. In fact, my husband can’t read a word I write. I might have to marry Livescribe, because it clearly understands me much better:

How does Livescribe3 transcription work

Granted, it wasn’t 100% accurate, but it was startlingly close, considering how elusive my handwriting can be. No lost notes, not lost writing…brilliant.

Go here to get Livescribe 3 or check out the other Livescribe products, including the Echo set for students.

Michelle Richmond is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Year of Fog, Golden State, Hum, and other books. She is the publisher of Fiction Attic Press and the creator of The Paperclip Method for writers.

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