Everybody has their own preferred tricks and tools to get their novel going. Check back here throughout the month as we feature some of our favorites.
Conor: My favorite NaNoWriMo resource is by far Chaotic Shiny. They have generators for just about everything you could ever want. Need a name for a character? They’ve got you covered. Did you character just walk into a tavern that is ultimately irrelevant to the plot but you need more words to hit your goal for the day? They can generate an entire tavern, complete with specialty drinks, popularity level, and the ratio of shady to trustworthy in the clientele!
Alexis: I have two resources I’d like to share. One is WhizFolders (http://whizfolders.com/), which is like a cross between Scrivener and this obscure novel organization tool called yfolder. WhizFolders is not quite as resource-heavy as Scrivener, has a friendlier user interface, is just friendlier at everything. The graphics aren’t as smooth as Scrivener’s, but again, I find it much friendlier to use and much easier to find everything, and it doesn’t start up its own folders for its projects to be in, you can put the resulting project file in whatever folder you want. Yayyyy!!!
The other resource I like is the Write! app ( (https://writeapp.co/). It’s a distraction-free writing processor, with markdown and cool features like cloud storage, color changes, and a dark theme (my favorite), different kinds of tracking (words, characters, etc.), reading time, statistics- basically all kind of neat things in there. Best of all, though, it doesn’t clutter up the interface when you’re writing, it all fades into the background and waits for you to finish before it brings everything back again.
Toni: Written? Kitten! – set the word count you want to reach and every time you reach it you see a cute kitty! Positive reinforcement here!
Written? Bacon! is also a thing apparently. I haven’t used it but wanted to share it here too.
Write or Die (old and busted verison is free to use) – different modes for how intense you want to be. Set you word count goal, the amount of time you want to finish it in, and how intense you want it to be mad at you if you don’t write. Negative reinforcement includes a spectrum of: your screen changing colors, annoying noises, or your entire set of words deleted if you stop typing!
Erika: I spread the Gospel of the Trello! (https://trello.com/) Trello is an organization site that was designed for business solutions and project coordination. However, it translates into a plot and character planning device beautifully. First of all, everything is online, so you can access it from anywhere. They also have an app. You make lists across the screen, and each list becomes a column that you add cards to. The cards are easy to drag and drop up and down the list or across to other lists. The cards have space for descriptive text, checklists, and comments, and you can upload pictures and files to the cards. You can swap the lists around, too. Imagine a list full of character cards, each with a picture. Plan your plot on the cards and swap items around on the list. Make checklists of what scenes to write. Got a co-author? You can both be on the same board. Have a board for each of your projects! There’s so much to choose from and I love it. I wanted to use it for this year’s novel, but I’m pantsing, so here’s a screenshot of the board for my D&D game. Behold!