Tools of the Trade — A List

The Year of the Red Door is a long story.   One.   Long.    Story.    Although it is divided into five volumes, the tale proceeds from the first volume right into the next.    And if you explore TYOTRD’s website, where there is a chronology, you will correctly surmise that the events within the story are the culmination of a long chain of history.

The length of the story itself is rather unconventional, to say the least.   As such, in addition to being somewhat frightening to publishers (as I can attest), it is also something that I know may also be unappealing to some readers.    But it is what it is, and I can only hope that a few stalwart readers will enjoy the tale.

However, all those aspects aside, writing a story of this nature has particular challenges that may not be encountered when writing shorter works.     Besides the storytelling itself, there are additional demands when it comes to sheer organization of work and of effort.     To meet those challenges, I must use every tool in my arsenal, and keep a keen eye out for other tools that might prove useful.   Some are standard tools that you’d expect.   Some I have brought to bear after using them for other (non-writing) projects.   And a few I have acquired that I once would have never dreamed of using, much less come to rely upon.

So, as promised, here is my list of tools, my arsenal.   You might be surprised by some of them.


  • Pens and pencils
  • Writing tablets and notebooks
  • Computers
  • External Keyboard and Mouse (for my laptops)
  • External drive
  • Printer/Scanner
  • MP3 player
  • Speakers and Headphones
  • Coffee Pot
  • Dictionaries (print)
  • Editor’s Handbooks, Style and Grammar References
  • Various Atlases, Maps, Almanacs, Rulers, and Dividers
  • Chalkboards
  • Voice Recorders


(free unless noted by $$)

Text Editors:

  • Word ($$, word processor; I use Word 2000)
  • Crimson Editor (text editor for html, css, perl, php, javascript, etc.)

Other Editors and Design Software:

  • VSDC (video editor)
  • Scribus (interior layout design for print)
  • Sigil (ebook layout design)
  • (graphics design/editor)
  • Paint (Old Windows XP version, not the newer version)
  • Audacity (audio editor)


  • Firefox (web design help)
  • Ccleaner (PC cleaner/optimizer)
  • Defraggler (PC optimizer)
  • Filezilla (FTP program for webdesign)
  • WordWeb Pro ($$) (dictionary/thesaurus/word helper)
  • PdftkXp (multi-pdf assembler)
  • FreeFileSync (machine-to-machine file synchronization)
  • Inky (Email Manager)
  • VLC media player (multi-format audio/video player)
  • Microsoft Movie Maker (for converting from AVI to MP4)
  • Ivona Reader ($$) (text to speech utility)
  • Macro Express ($$) (macro design and running program)
  • WinPerl (Perl programming language for Windows)

Thanks for reading!

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