With NaNo fast approaching, here are a few options to help encourage achieving the daily word count goal.
Write or Die – this offers the carrot and stick options for writing, using pictures, sounds and colors based on how well the writing goes. Application charges fee for download.
750Words – based on the idea of writing three pages a day, the site offers rewards in the form of points and monthly contests. Site charges a fee after a free trial membership.
Written? Kitten! – operates on a reward system. Site shows a picture after so many words. Default is of kittens, but can be changed. Use is free.
ilys – does not allow the writer to edit until the world goal is reached. The writing box doesn’t even show the entire document, just the last letter type. Once the word count is reached then you can access the full piece and edit. Use is free.
Writeometer – an android app that supplies graphs for tracking word counts, rewards for achieving goals, and sends notifications to remind you to write. Download is free.
Scrivener is a writing program offered by Literature and Latte. They are another sponsor of NaNo and offer a free 30 day trial. Scrivener offers tool such as a corkboard, files for easy formatting, a place to store research, and easy import/export from other software.
As I mentioned in a previous post, there is a free alternative, with less functionality offered through SpaceJock Software. Also available is Jami Gold’s Scrivener template beat sheet.
Aeon Timeline is an organization tool that offers a twenty day free trial or is available for download through the website. It is a timeline designed to help plot out the course of a book whether it is character arcs or specific events.
I am a Pantser, so I have not yet dug into the specifics of Aeon Timeline, but NaNo has promoted it for the last couple years as a way to get ready for the month-long madness.
Back in November, or shortly before, I mentioned NaNoWriMo. They have a blog through Tumblr where they offer writing tips and advice. One post is a list of 46 questions to ask yourself about the various characters in your story.
Is all of it vital information? No.
Will all of these fun facts end up in your story? No.
Will it help you get a better understanding of your characters? Yes.
Will it help you understand that the characters existed before the events of the story and those previous experiences can effect and add colorful detail to the story’s plot? I certainly hope so.
Not sure what I mean by that last one? Check out Orson Scott Card’s Characters and Viewpoint. He discusses this idea in some detail.
Svenja Liv, an artist, puts together excel spreadsheets, free to download, that will keep track of how many words written per day. There are three options
1) Word count per day for just November (this one comes in a variety of designs, most related to shows)
2) Word count per day for the year
3) Word total for November
Sure, you could create your own Excel spreadsheet to track how many words you written in how many hours, but why bother when someone has figured out the formulas for you. It comes with pages for tracking characters and plot with bonus graphs and a comment line that cheers or harangues you depending on how well you are meeting the daily word count.
As October comes to close, writers around the world gear up for NaNo, or National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo.
Run by the Office of Letters and Lights, who also coordinate a youth writing program, they challenge people to write a first draft of a new novel in one month. 50K in 30 days.
Always told yourself you would write a book someday? Someday can become today. Well, Friday, actually. No cheating. The challenge is run on the honor system and the only one you’ll be hurting is yourself. You and your novel.
The reward? A competed first draft of a novel. And some discounts from the sponsors.
I tried NaNo for the first time last year and won. Along the way I discovered some tools that I will share throughout the month. The first is the website itself, full of forums, motivation, and regional groups that organize write-ins the help writers achieve their 50k words.