Tuesday, November 09, 2010

NaNo Day 9: Helpful Links

So much has been going on recently that I haven't had a dedicated NaNo post since the begining of the challenge (and I'm actually putting off releasing news today--it will wait a day). Today let's talk words.

Week two of the challenge has now started. Everyone still pushing along? How is the wordcount coming? According to my chart, today's word goal is 15k words. (Okay, technically 15,003. Let's be exact.) Have your characters surprised you with what they've said or done? Any unexpected plot developments?

At this point your beginning has well and truly begun, and you are probably hurtling toward the first turning point in your story (or perhaps you've already hit it.) You've made a good start, so keep powering on with the momentum you've created. Here are a couple links to resources you might find useful as you write through the second week:

  • Write or Die--This is a great motivation tool. The product page used to say "Putting the 'Prod' back in 'Productivity'" (it might still say that somewhere, I only glanced at it) and it does just that. You enter how many words you want to write and the amount of time you wish to write them in and then hit start. A window will pop up for you to write in, and if you stop or you fall behind, it will begin to penalize/agitate you. The aggressiveness of this 'agitation' ranges from annoying sounds and blinking lights to it actually erasing words (*Note erasing words only occurs if you set it to Kamikaze mode. I personally suggest using that mode sparingly.)  You can use the program for free on the web, or buy a downloadable desktop version that includes the abilites to have timed wordwars with friends online. If your word count could use some prodding, make sure to check out this program. 
  • NaNoWriMo Report Cards--There are several of these out there, but they all work about the same. They are a spread sheet were you enter your current word count and the number of hours you wrote that day. The spreadsheet then calculates how many words you still need, how many you need to write per day to finish by the 30th, and it estimates the date you'll finish by your current pace. Whether you are ahead, behind, or right on target, it's always fun to watch these number change. Here is link to such a report card. 
  • Dropbox--with as much time and effort as you are putting into writing, don't forget to backup your work. 15k words would be a lot to lose, and your count will only continue growing from this point out. We all hope file corruption, viruses, stolen laptops, lightening strikes, or dead hard drives don't happen, but it's best to be prepared for the worst. Remember to back up your work onto an external device such as a USB stick or to an external server like Dropbox. Or both. (I use both time machine and dropbox) If you've never heard of dropbox, it is a wonderful tool both to back up your files on an off site server and to share your files between multiple computers/devices. The best part? They give you several gigs of server space for free, so check it out.
  • Scrivener--Now, it is a little late in the writing process for me to mention scrivener to you, but I'd be remiss to create a list of helpful writing links and not include scrivener. This is THE writing software for me. I've written my last three books on Scrivener and I love it. Many of the the things I used to do in several programs or mediums--like plotting with post-it notes--are all incorporated in Scrivener in a way that fits seamlessly with my process. Also, I love the organization capabilities. The creator seriously could have written this program specifically for me. One day I'll do a full post on Scrivener, but not today. Today I'll just say that at some point you should check it out and see if it is a program that would help you manage the daunting task of writing a book. And good news for windows users--they just released a Windows beta, so you're not left out anymore. 
Okay, so those are my helpful links for you today. Now, maybe what you really need right now isn't a helpful link, but a moment of distraction? I have those for you too. Check out these NaNoWriMo themed youtube videos:
And that's enough distraction. Back to writing everyone!
Happy Tuesday. Many words to you!

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