Time to pound the keys!

This is it! It’s nearly here. At midnight tonight National Novel Writing Month begins and the path toward a 50,000 word novel will take over your life.

I’ll be joining in the festivities as well this year though I only started preparing a couple of days ago. 
But I’m not the only procrastinator. I’m willing to bet that you saw the title to this blog post because you did the same thing. You have no idea how to start or what to work on and time is running out.
Don’t worry, I’ve put together a toolbox that will help you out even at this late hour(s).

First thing is first, let’s talk about plot, which is exactly what you will write about. Earlier in the week I gave out three story ideas to work with. Here’s some more ideas.

This website will generate story ideas for you. All you have to do is click to get a logline, which is a one line synopsis. It can’t get any simpler than this…or can it?

It can! Behold, a Wiki entry that details 36 dramatic situations. That’s 36 arcs, 36 plot lines, 36 stories that are so pre-written it still has Shakespeare’s signature on it.

I need coffee. Lots of it.

Character will be the next thing you’ll need to worry about. Hopefully your plot will tell you how many characters you’ll need. At the very least you’ll need two. Use this form to figure out your characters. 

My favorite thing to use to “plan” our a character is the goal, motivation, conflict chart. I did a video about it recently. This chart, with the form I just gave you, will help you get a hold on your characters. Need a name? Here’s a great place to get one or a couple. 

Note: I’ll be teaching a free online seminar called How to Create Awesome Characters at 10 am CST on Nov. 17 on this website. Come back and watch!

Actually writing the darn thing

Word and other word processing software like Microsoft Works and Open Office can be used to create your novel, but if you’re extremely distracted there is software–free and not–that can help with that.

Dark Room, a free web-based site, is a retro word processor. Remember DOS? It’s just like that–black screen, green letters, nothing else. The website gives you a chance to download the software and save your creation as text. Use the NaNoWriMo word counter for your official word count.

The Mac version is Write Room, which gives you the option to have orange letters if you prefer. If you’re an iPad user and writer, there’s an app for $1.99.

For my money, I’m using Scrivener. I’ve used this program before to help organize other projects. For this one, I’ll be using it again and have used it to plot and do some characterization. The program, which comes for both Mac and Windows, has a full screen feature that can be adjusted. I’ve used this feature before and it’s easy to keep you focused longer.

With this, I wish everyone good luck! Write swiftly, daily, and I’ll see you at the finish line.

But before that, could you do me a favor and sign up for my newsletter? It’s super easy and you’ll get more writing tips! 

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