October 14, 2013

7 Great Resources For NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo web badge from 2013

    With NaNoWriMo approaching, it is time to prepare yourself and possibly plan your fabulous novel.  Here are seven resources that can be really helpful to you in your quest.  Some of them are great for during NaNoWriMo, others are great for the preparation.  It all depends on how you are going about your work.

NaNoWriMo Forums

    With a site filled with hundreds of thousands of other writers, I always find the forums to be a safe place to ask questions.  Whether it is researching something your afraid to ask elsewhere or writing techniques.  Even grammar questions are safe to ask.  I am still looking forward to the thread I see every year about research.  The thread usually asks what people are researching that could be perceived as less than innocent.  (ie: How long does it take to bleed out from (insert wound here?) or What does it feel like to pass out from chloroform?)  Generally things you don't want to test out on your own.
    It is also a great place to just hang out and procrastinate, learn about new things, or talk shop.  There are the Genre Lounges with threads for Adventure, Chick Lit, Historical Fiction, and Satire(among several other genres).  There is NaNo Groups with sections for different age groups and backgrounds.  Go and take a gander at the forums over in NaNoland.  I am sure you'll find something of interest.    
    With eight seasons of advice from published authors, writing excuses is a treasure trove of knowledge in the art of writing.  Each episode is as they say "Fifteen minutes long.  Because your in a hurry and we're not that smart."  Check out the tag for NaNoWriMo.  Last year they even did four mini-bonus episodes just for NaNoWriMo.  I hope they will grace us with another round this November.
    Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson , Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells have covered so many topics and answered so many questions.  Take a look through their archives or select one of the tags you are interested in.  I will be going through some of their episodes on magic and magic systems later today.  One of the tags I have devoured in the past is worldbuilding.  They also have episodes on outliningwriting career, and comics.  The episodes that focus on their own writing projects are engaging and insightful.  Get some great advice and encouragement from the folks at Writing Excuses.  
    Any dictionary and thesaurus will serve you well when you are writing.  I like this site because it is right there at my fingertips.  It is easy to switch from the definition of a word to the thesaurus entry.  It will also read the word to you.  This is great for those time when you have read the word a hundred times, but never heard it spoken.  It is also great for words you use all the time, but have never seen in writing so you simply don't recognize the word when you do see it.  They also have some interesting articles they will feature on language.  Here is one of the recent articles; Why is it called America, not Columbusia?  Go check it out.  Learn some new words.  Or maybe new uses for old words.  
    This is a great source for inspiration, writing advice, and collecting ideas.  Just don't get sucked in.  In fact, I would suggest using this before November starts and then being very disciplined with your use of it during November.  If you create an account you can then create web based inspiration boards for your work.  There are also boards dedicated to writing advice and NaNoWriMo.  But like I warned don't get sucked in when you should be writing.  
    Do you ever get stuck?  Not sure what to do next?  Pop on over to this link and have it give you a short idea or strategy.  Simple, sweet.  Don't like what you got, just refresh the page.

    Need to set the mood?  Pick out some playlists to work to.  You can even create your own mixes.  I like to work to instrumental playlists.  Fewer distractions.  Chantel showed me this user, The Great Zucchini, who has several mixes for different setting.  I am hoping to get some mixes picked out for the different scenes in my project and then hopefully a few extras on the side.  One of the great things about this site is that when one playlist ends it will automatically start a new playlist based off the tags of the last one.

Your mind

    The most important tool and resource for creating any piece of art is your own mind and heart and soul.  So create and may your muse be with you.

    Here is my writing response to the writing exercise from September 30th.  Description Exercise
    A brass and glass housing.  The rounded brass base is stable and thick.  On top of the base a brass cup is nailed in place.   Each of its six windows, mounted on the edges of the base, is engraved with a simple star.  On the top of the windows sits a shallow bowl shape of brass with two smaller copies of itself open faced to each other mounted on top.  Each of the bowl-like shapes is punched through with six point stars.  On the very top is a little loop that can be used as a handle except when a candle in the inner cup is lit.  Then the little loop and the top of the housing becomes too hot to touch with bare hands.

    It was a lantern.  I think I am going to try this a few more times.  I wasn't particularly pleased with my results.  I need more practice.

Writing Exercise: Your Friendly Thesaurus 

    Pick a random item.  Think of three adjectives that describe the item.  Write a short description of the item using the three adjectives.  Now look up those adjectives in the thesaurus.    Pick a synonym for each of your three adjectives.  Write a short description of the item using the three synonyms.  How different are the two descriptions?


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