Monday, December 18, 2006

What Do You Get a Writer for Christmas?

Well? What do you get a writer for Christmas? We asked our Charis team and came up with some delightful answers!

For the female writer, I’d suggest this vintage starlet robe . . . because, like the books we work on, it looks most beautiful from behind. (Oh! Were we supposed to be practical? Then get a couple of reams of paper.) --Angela Hunt

You can move this portable laptop desk anyplace in the house. It has room for a cup of coffee, a split top so you can slant your laptop at just the right angle, and a lip to keep pens and flash drives, etc. from rolling off. Best of all, it’s under $100! I bought my husband one for Christmas a couple years ago and I think he suspects I really bought it for me. --Deborah Raney

If the writer or editor is also a loved one and money is no object--then spring for one of the new MacBooks! But back to earth: writers (and most of the editors I know) love anything from Levenger. --BJ Hoff

I'd give the Levenger Lap desk. --James Scott Bell

I'd give Self-Editing for Fiction Writers Second Edition, 2004, by Renni Browne and Dave King. --Liz Curtis Higgs

A subscription to My pleasure reading time is at a premium, and listening to audio books whenever I'm in the car or on an airplane is one way I can still "read" great and/or bestselling fiction. --Robin Lee Hatcher

I'm not sure if this is the ONE gift I'd recommend, but it's what I'm asking for! Used by luminaries like Picasso, Van Gogh and Ernest Hemmingway, a Moleskin journal will receive all manner of scratching and sketchings, and just feels good in your hand. It's a creative tradition I'm thinking I'd like to join. --lisa samson

The New Dictionary of Christian Ethics & Pastoral Theology. I find myself returning to this book often when faced with questions about the stickiest situations of real-life. Since those situations are exactly what makes a novel interesting, it's like having a team of theologians vet my novels. Very helpful. --Athol Dickson

I'd get them a gift certificate to Levenger! I absolutely love that place. --Rene Gutteridge

For the writer who's into strange words, I'd suggest Totally Wierd and Wonderful Words. The book is written in conversational style, comes complete with cartoon illustrations, and contains "hundreds of words guaranteed to amuse and astonish." And get this--the best part of all. It contains a guide as to how you can make up your own words using the proper Greek and Latin roots. Is that cool or what? I am thinking how very much fun I could have with the book's defined words--and my own concoctions--in my next manuscript. One every other page ought to do it, don't you think? Ah, the joy such creativity will bring my editor... ~ Brandilyn Collins

A copy of The Sea Around Us by Rachel Louise Carson. This book won the National Book Award in 1952, and it is proof that even a subject as seemingly prosaic as marine biology can be written about with passion and language that is positively poetic in every single sentence. --Tom Morrisey

I would recommend a voice activated recorder. It can be carried anywhere, and is especially useful when you're driving and want to leave a message for yourself for later. --Hannah Alexander

I've had many favorite books on writing over the years, including The Craft of Writing by William Sloane (now out of print), The Art of Fiction by John Gardner (still in print, thankfully), and the entire series Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews (several volumes, out of print). I would be hard-pressed to pick a single favorite, but if I were choosing a book to give a writer friend today, it would be The Writer's Craft, compiled and edited by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist John Hersey (hardcover, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1974). Yes, it's out of print, but like the other out-of-print volumes I listed above, you can order it (assuming you can't find one at your local used-book store) through's excellent used-book service.

Hersey himself wrote only the Introduction. The rest consists of an incredible collection of essays and other writings on the writer's craft by a who's-who of writers, including Flannery O'Connor, Faulkner, Tolstoy, Solzhenitsyn, Poe, A.E. Housman, Kipling, Thomas Wolfe, John Fowles, and many, many others. Great stuff. The writer on your Christmas list will read it with a highlighter in one hand and a lightbulb continually blinking on over his head. --Dave Lambert, senior fiction editor at the Howard Books imprint of Simon & Schuster and author of nine books, including four novels.


At 2:26 AM, Blogger owlhaven said...

What great ideas! I am secretly hoping my hubby bought me a laptop....

At 8:51 AM, Blogger C.J. Darlington said...

I have that desk Deb recommends (or something very similar), and it's great. When space is an issue, go with this desk. It folds up and can be slipped behind a dresser or sofa.

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I LOVED this post. What a great idea. Wished I thought of it for Novel Journey. Thanks for sharing these great gift ideas. I think I'm going to go buy that laptop tray/desk. Very cool. Thanks all for sharing.

At 1:14 PM, Blogger PatriciaW said...

Got some cool ideas to add to my Christmas list. Thanks. I'd love for my husband to surprise me with with a monthly massage, to work the kinks out of my shoulders and neck after too many hours of typing on my laptop and staring at the screen.

At 3:09 PM, Blogger ~ Brandilyn Collins said...

I'm double down for that robe.

At 3:20 PM, Blogger Tina Ann Forkner said...

I love my moleskin journal. My editor gave me one to welcome me to the "family" and it's the greatest thing.


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