Five Gifts for Speculative Fiction Writers

Other gift possibilities: a gift certificate to your local indy bookstore, pens (I like fountain pens a lot), and fuzzy socks to keep their toes warm while writing.

Here’s five gifts for the writer on your list (even if it’s yourself).

A little history. One of my favorite reads this year was Bud Webster’s Past Masters: And Other Bookish Natterings. Bud’s book combines hearty doses of interesting history with some deliciously thorough reading lists, that will only lead you to more and more reading. Bud always managed to tell me something about the writers that I didn’t know but which shed more light (and interest) on the stories I already loved. Heartily recommended, particularly if you’re well-read in the SF field and want to know more about some of its greats.

A little inspiration. WonderBook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction is a fabulous, gorgeous book about writing created by Jeff VanderMeer and Jeremy Zerfoss that will inspire and amuse. There’s a lot of writing books produced each year – this is not only the nicest of this year’s, but one well worth dipping into over and over again.

A little fuel. Writers usually require coffee. This year, due to this blog post by Chuck Wendig, I’ve become a fan of the Chemex coffeemaker. It’s got a nice little ritual to coffee-making that helps start the day right. Or a pound of fancy weasel-butt process coffee, if you want to go all out. Uncaffeinated writer? Get them a gift certificate and let them pick their own liquid.

A little efficiency. Dragon Dictate is dictation software available for Windows and Mac (although check what OS you’re running, a version hasn’t been released yet for the latest Mac update.) I love Dragon Dictate and think it makes me significantly more productive. It does take a little getting used to, but once you’ve worked with it a while, writing by hand feels archaic. And slooooooow.

A little notebook. Though it may seem unoriginal, writers always need notebooks. There’s a reason Moleskines keep being popular. Toss in a few fancy pens like this or these for a coordinated gift.

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About Cat

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov's, Clarkesworld Magazine, and the magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her story, "Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain," from her collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She is currently working on Exiles of Tabat, the third book of the Tabat Quartet. A new story collection, Neither Here Nor There, appears from Hydra House this fall.
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