Handy tools for #NaNoWriMo

I’m not participating this year, but I thought I’d put up a quick list of handy tools to help you make it through the month.

1. WikiMindMap

No time to research!  But if you need to find fast answers, Wikipedia is the way to go.  And the way to read Wikipedia is through WikiMindMap.  From the site:

WikiMindMap is a tool to browse easily and efficiently in Wiki content, inspired by the mindmap technique. Wiki pages in large public wiki’s, such as wikipedia, have become rich and complex documents. Thus, it is not allways straight forward to find the information you are really looking for. This tool aims to support users to get a good structured and easy understandable overview of the topic you are looking for.

For example, say your story is set in Paris.  You’re writing away frantically, and need a location.  But your character has already been to Eiffel Tower.  Where else can he go?  Pop Paris into the WikiMindMap search box, and voila! Click on ‘cityscape’ and you have many wonderful locations for a chance meeting between two star-crossed lovers.  Or click on ‘transportation’ to find out how your main character gets to the docks in time to stop the villain from escaping.  Click on ‘cuisine’ to find out what dish the ambassador is eating when the terrorists burst through the glass doors, guns blazing.

2. Astrodienst

Need some fast character motivations and goals?  The folks at Astrodienst have a number of horoscopes which can help.  Choose a personal portrait for a character overview, entering your characters name, birth city, DOB etc.  For quick inspiration, choose a daily horoscope to see what’s influencing their actions in the scene.  Or use the Short Report Forecast to see where your character is headed.

3. NaNoWriMo word tracker spreadsheet

Get the NaNoWriMo Tracking Spreadsheet from Nidonocu and keep a careful eye on your progress and look at all the pretty graphs of your progress.

Or, if you want a more functional (but more complicated) spreadsheet that shows you how much you need to write each day to make your goal, get the Zotuku spreadsheet instead.

4. Liquid Story Binder for NaNoWriMo

Liquid Story Binder is also a great tool for NaNo, as demonstrated by Ann-Kat at Today I Read.

5. Random Generators

No NaNo event would be complete without random generators.  Names, towns, ideas, organisations; all created at the click of a button.  You can choose from a number of great sites offering a range of generators; Seventh Sanctum, Feath’s Bookcase, Namator, SkyEye (for star names), Serendipity, the Story Idea GeneratorCallihoo and The Speculative Fiction Muse.  If you can’t find what you need from that list, time to hang up your pen.

Good luck!

11 thoughts on “Handy tools for #NaNoWriMo

  1. Pingback: Day #6 – Tools of the Writing Trade « Motivated Procrastinator's Blog

  2. You always find the neatest toys. But I am so glad I’m not racing against the clock this November. Racing against the for Halloween has sapped it right out of me.

  3. Pingback: NaNoWriMo Tracker Template and Some Resources

    • I tried freemind, but I’m not a big fan. I find it a little awkward and clunky, but maybe it was because I was trying to use it for something rather peculiar – plotting a choose your own adventure. :P

  4. I highly recommend yWriter by Simon Haynes, a regular NaNoWriMo participant. The program offers a bunch of tools for planning out your piece of writing: various elements of the work itself (characters, locales, objects, etc…), plotting (chapters and scenes), a word processor (rtf only so far), and a wordcount tracker that offers great support for your completion goals. When you create a project the folder will include all of the information, and is easy to import and export between projects. Overall, yWriter is more than a match for professional software, but is free to download and use.


  5. Pingback: What kind of Nano-er are you? « J. C. Hart

  6. What a treasure trove of information Merrillee! Excellent post.

    Will be checking all of the above out as soon as I get out of here :)

  7. I’m not doing NaNo, but those tools look pretty cold (wait, why did I write cold? I meant cool. I guess your links are extra cool). I like the sound of the WikiMindMap. I will check it out.

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