Tag: nanowrimo

nanowrimo

The Best Apps for Every Step of NaNoWriMo

So it’s the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, and you only have time to do things like go to school for eight hours, sleep for an inconvenient five or so, and occasionally eat. Writing does take time, but you have more time than you probably think (unless you thought you had twenty-four hours in a day, which is technically accurate but unlikely for a functioning person). While there are some circumstances where you can’t whip out your laptop, there are far fewer cases where it’s unusual to take out your phone. So instead of lamenting your wasted time, use the moments you do have to chip away at that 50k on iPhone or Android… with some (all free!) apps to help you with every step of the process.

 

1. The research process 

 

 

Charlie Kelly from 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia'

Image Via Imgur.com

 

Evernote, free for iPhone and Android, is perfect for keeping track of all your research and inspirational quotations. Its Web Clipper feature allows you to incorporate your source material directly into your notes, so you don’t crash your computer (again) with your 22 dubiously-useful open tabs.

 

2. The outline 

 

 

Millie Bobby Brown Gif

Gif Via Tumblr.com

 

Go Writer Lite for iPhone incorporates note-taking into the writing process with the draft board feature, a temporary storage space for text fragments (like that one sentence you just can’t figure out). As a bonus, the app will read your text aloud to you, so you can hear for yourself what sounds the way you imagined it.

 

Workflowy for Android is perfect for complicated outlines, allowing users to see any heading and its subheadings in isolation to prevent distraction (to the extent that it can). The app also includes searchable hashtags, so you can mark problem areas you want to remember for later—and then actually remember them.

 

3. The first draft

 

 

'Tom and Jerry' Gif

Gif Via Github.com

 

Writer for iPhone is more powerful than your typical word processor, saving all drafts of your product so that you never lose any material. In addition to your usual built-in spell check, this app also comes with a built in thesaurus to help you find the right (write?) word. On top of that, the app has simple yet varied table of contents formatting to help you and (and your eventual readers!) stay organized.

 

4. The editing process 

 

 

Frantic Typing Gif

Gif Via Gfycat.com

 

Unlike your typical sticky note phone app, Jotterpad for Android keeps track of your word count, paragraph count, character count, AND reading time. With a built in dictionary and thesaurus, this app is already better than many word processing computer programs. Jotterpad is especially good for your second and third drafts, as its snapshot feature allows you to revert to earlier versions of your story.

 

With any luck, these apps will help you put your (relatively few) moments of down time to work writing the novel of your dreams (or occasionally your nightmares).

 

Featured Image Via WeScreeplay

'The Fault in Our Stars' by John Green

The 6 Steps to NaNoWriMo Success, as Told by Your Favorite Authors

It’s time for National Novel Writing Month, a hellish and delightful month-long exercise for writers of all skill levels and prior experience. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words of fiction by the end of November, creating a bit more every day (1,667 words, to be exact). The outcome of NaNoWriMo is often a mix of joy and incredible frustration. Here are six pieces of serious advice from famous classic and contemporary authors to help get you through every step of the NaNoWriMo process.

 

1. Let your favorite books inspire you.

 

Horror novels by Stephen King

Image Via sheknows.com

 

Superstar horror novelist Stephen King, author of hits like It and The Shining, considers the relationship between writing and reading to be quite serious: “if you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” In fact, reading does make you a better writer— not necessarily because it makes you ‘more educated.’ In fact, many famous novelists never earned a college degree. By understanding the things you like best in your favorite stories (a richly realized setting, efficient pacing, possibly dragons), you can seek to recreate those elements in your own work. It’s not plagiarism to love in-depth character development.

 

2. Research your topic.

 

Research

Image Via oregoncenterfornursing.org

 

Few authors ever write the proverbial ‘Great American Novel,’ but many believe that classic writer and humorist Mark Twain is one of these few. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn author advises: “get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.” While you don’t need to, say, drop everything and move to London to write your WWII period piece, you should also know more about WWII than to say for sure it happened. Make sure you have insight into the small details of the places, times, and circumstances you address— even if you feel familiar with them already! Others may share your experiences but feel differently about them. You may also find that immersing yourself in the mood and tone of a topic can make your work more atmospheric. 

 

3. Ignore your self-doubt.

 

Ignoring self-doubt to write your novel

Image Via npr.org

 

Sylvia Plath, literary icon and author of The Bell Jar, cautions against the self-doubt that can spell the sad ending of a writer’s dreams: “everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” No matter the scope of your project (sweeping epic fantasy) or the difficulty of the subject matter (devastating political crisis), there’s only one thing that determines whether your novel gets written. Spoiler alert! It’s you. Bonus: if you write with self-confidence, your novel will have a stronger and clearer narrative voice. Take control of your feelings and your work— they both belong to you.

 

4. Accept that you might need ‘warm-up’ time.

 

Writer writing

Image Via videoblocks.com

 

If J.K. Rowling, international celebrity author of the Harry Potter series, needs to warm up… don’t feel bad about needing the same thing! She writes:

 

 

“You have to resign yourself to the fact that you waste a lot of trees before you write anything you really like, and that’s just the way it is. It’s like learning an instrument, you’ve got to be prepared for hitting wrong notes occasionally, or quite a lot, ‘cause I wrote an awful lot before I wrote anything I was really happy with.”

 

First drafts are more than just mistakes to be rewritten— they’re actually a necessary part of the process. If you’re a new writer just starting out, every sentence you despise is just the next step towards a sentence that you love. The only way out of the self-hate spiral is through it!

 

5. Consider your words.

 

Notebook and other writing supplies

Image via independent.co.uk

 

So you’ve gotten to the most important part of writing your novel— writing it. Conveniently, this part is usually also the hardest. It’s a challenge to be objective about your own work, and while it’s easy to tell whether or not you’re meeting the word count, it can be substantially less easy to tell whether or not the words are what you hoped they would be. George Orwell, classic author of 1984 and Animal Farm, has a series of blunt but helpful questions:

 

A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 

1. What am I trying to say? 
2. What words will express it? 
3. What image or idiom will make it clearer? 
4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? 

And he will probably ask himself two more: 
1. Could I put it more shortly? 
2. Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly? 

 

6. Finish the story.

 

Writer with laptop and coffee

Image Via pixabay.com

 

While the Internet is full of awesome writers’ resources, too much of a good thing can turn into a thing that distracts the absolute !@#$ out of you. The purpose of something like a character sheet isn’t to help you end up with a filled-out character sheet. The point is to end up with a complete character… who then lives inside a complete story. As John Green, celebrity author of heart-wrenching novels Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, so eloquently puts it: “go spit in the face of our inevitable obsolescence and finish your @#$&ng novel.” You can find this wisdom and the rest of his NaNoWriMo pep talk here for advice, inspiration, and blatant common sense.

 

One last piece of blatant common sense: always save your drafts!

 

 

Featured Image Via bustle.com