November is all about NaNoWriMo for me, since I’ve been planning to finally complete my first novel this year, and NaNoWriMo is the reason, and motivation I found to do just that.
With November just around the corner, I have been busy hunting down, and reading a lot of novel writing material - everything from writing software to general tips, etc.
I thought I’d share some of the resources that I took some fancy to. Maybe it’ll help some of you out there.
Just a note: Some of them are more fantasy fiction centered. Since my first novel falls under the genre of fantasy fiction.
Start Writing Your Novel Online, With These Tools:
- Novlr: Novlr is a great tool to use for writing novels. It’s online, and you can virtually write your novel from anywhere. Read my review of Novlr.
- Novelize: Novelize is great. It’s better than Novlr; in the sense that Novlr is relatively new, and they’re still working on it. Thus Novelize has more to offer. Read my review of Novelize.
- My Writing Nook: An online resource for writing. It’s an online editor, free to use. You’ve to have a google account to be able to start using My Writing Nook. It’s relatively simple, and easy to use. Feature set is kept to a minimum; no fancy features. It works just fine!
- Protagonize: Another tool just like My Writing Nook above. Let’s you create, share, and publish your writings. You can collaborate with other authors, and connect with your readers. It’s just like wattpad, mentioned below.
- Wattpad: Wattpad is a mashup of writing tools, and social media. It’s the largest online community of readers and writers. And it’s free.
Getting To Know Your Characters:
- SeventhSanctum: The place for name generators (and other random generators). Fun, easy to use. Great tool for generating character names. Tons of options. It also hosts a Writing prompt generator, and a plot twist generator.
- What’s in a Name?: A great post by Moira Allen that walks you through why coming up with the right name is key to your novel. This post is more for SF writers, but don’t let that stop you from reading it.
- Fantasy Name Generator: As the name suggests- it’s a fantasy name generator. Easy to use. Old. But still works just fine.
- Everchanging Book of Names: A shareware app for Windows that generates Random names on the fly for you. It’s every changing. The downloads page has zip files that plug into the software to generate more names based on some famous fantasy books, etc.
- Name Playground: Popular names, and other name based lists.
- 10 days of character building wrap up: Exactly what the title says. Spend 10 days on character building. The post is essentially a list of other posts that help build you character.
- All Your Characters Talk The Same — And They’re Not A Hive-mind!: It’s a problem when all your characters have the same voice, and speak alike. It flattens out your entire novel. A great read by Charlie Jane Anders over at io9.com, about how to give your characters the voice they deserve.
- Seven Common Character Types: A great post on seven common character types.
- Give Them Some Wants: A small tip about giving your characters some wants. When your characters have wants, it adds to their definition. Definitely give it a read.
- Questionnaires for Writing Character Profiles: Some questionnaires for writing your character profiles.
- the character therapist: An online therapy service for fictional characters. Great read for some great inspiration. You can send in your character for a “detailed character assessment” for $49.99. Or just read the blog!
- Character and setting interactions: Just as the name suggests, it’s a post on how your setting and characters should interact. Great read by Alicai Rasley, 1999.
- Characters- Motive Generator: Generate a motive for your character. Great fun to get going those mind mills of yours.
- Fantasy World-building Questions: A list of questions to aid you in building your fantasy fiction world. By Patricia C. Wrede.
- Worldbuilding Rules!: A blog about everything worldbuilding. Definitely one for your bookmarks.
- Setting: An old post by Lori Handeland about creating, and using Settings. Great read.
- Creating a believable world: A great read on how to create a believable world by Sharon Caseburg.
- Creating the Perfect Setting: A mini part series on creating the perfect setting by Alex Keegan.
- The Art of Description: Eight Tips to Help You Bring Your Settings to Life: Just as the name suggests, a blog post with eight tips that help you bring your settings to life.
- World Building 101: A short, to the point read about world building for beginners- by Lee Masterson.
- I Love the End of the World: Another short read about post-apocalypse world settings- by Madeleine Robins.
- Magical World Builder’s Guide: A great guide for creating your own fantasy universe. A definite read for beginners, like I!- By Stephanie Cottrell Bryant.
- 30 Days of WorldBuilding: An ebook that’s also a great resource comprising of a great deal of world building information, and short 15-minute exercises that can help you make your fantasy world awesome.
- A Way With Worlds: A list of “columns”, or posts that form a great which forms a great resource, and reading material for learning to build your fantasy world(s).
- Creating a Realistic Fantasy World: A great read on how to create worlds that seem more realistic. That make your readers think- “It could happen”. By Penny Ehrenkranz.
- The Rules of Quick and Dirty Worldbuilding: Annalee Newitz from io9.com, walks you through some quick, and dirty rules on worldbuilding.
Plots In Your Story(s)
- No Plot? No Problem! Revised and Expanded Edition: A Low-stress, High-velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days- A great book by Chris Baty, who’s had a ton of NaNoWriMo experience.
- Organising Your Plot Structure: A how-to on organising the structure of your plot. Old article, but still worth the read. By Apryl Duncan.
- Plot Whisperer Blog: A blog about everything plots by Martha Alderson.
- Plot Generator: A quick, and on the fly plot generator to get some inspiration for your story.
- Pacing: A long, old, and awesome read on what’s pacing, and how to pace your story using plots, and current performances- by Dr. Vicki Hinze.
- Effectively Outlining Your Plot: Another article on outlining, and organising your plots- by Lee Masterson.
- One-Page Plotting: A great worksheet that helps you create your plot, while simplifying it.
- Top 8 Tips for Writing Dialogue: Eight simple tips for writing great dialogues- by Ginny Wiehardt
- Speaking of Dialogue: A great read that teaches you how to write convincing dialogues; a post for beginners- by Robert J. Sawyer.
- Pacing Dialogue and Action Scenes — Your Story at Your Speed: A great intro to pacing dialogues, and action scenes.
- Basics: Dialogue: Basics of dialogue writing for beginners. Great read by Terry W. Ervin II.
- How to Write Effective Dialog: Another great post that teaches you what to do, and what not to while writing dialogues.
Everything Else, And Then Some:
- Novel Outlining 101: A great how-to on outlining your novel.
- Outline your novel in thirty minutes: Another great article from 1998, on how to outline your novel in 30 minutes- by Alicia Rasley.
- Synopsis Format: This one’s a question- How to format a synopsis? A great read if you’re wondering the same.
- The Great Swampy Middle: Straight from the author of Codex Alera & Dresden Files. Jim butcher talks about how to get through the middle part of your novel. Definitely a must read.
- How to write a story in first person narrative and make it believable: Something that new authors struggle with- writing in the first person narrative.
- The Snowflake Method For Designing A Novel: A method of designing, and writing a great novel. Definitely a good read.
- Conflict Test: A short, easy questionnaire about checking your conflict strategy, and if the conflict is moving your story in the right direction.
- What is conflict?: A great read that talks about conflict, and why as a beginner you should have a conflict in every scene.
- Writing 101- So You Want to Write a Novel- Part 1: A three part series that talks about novel writing in general. It’s old, but still worth the read. Read Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. These articles (or “issues”) are a part of Vision. Vision is a resource for writers, and it’s huge! Check out Vision- A resource for Writers.
- Adding and revising scenes in your novel: A very short read that talks about adding, and revising scenes in your novel.
- Questions you should ask yourself when you are describing things for a story: A post about questions that you should ask yourself based on your story. Short read, and great questions.
- Deciding on a Narrative Voice: A how-to on deciding which voice to use while writing your novel.
- How to Write a 50,000 Word Novel in a Month: Specifically targeted towards NaNoWriMo writers. Normal points, but a good read none the less.
- Cliche Finder: Nifty little online tool that helps you find cliches in your writing.
- Junkfoodmonkey’s Editing Recipe: How to edit that first draft- a recipe.
- How to rewrite: A nice how-to for beginners on rewriting.
- The Seven Major Beginner Mistakes: A generalised post on mistakes all kinds of beginners make.
- The Writing Cafe: A quaint tumblr full of writing resources, and advice.
- National Novel Writing Month Resources: Some of the best resources like the 30 days calendar or stickersfor NaNoWriMo 2015! Definitely worth the click.
- 2 Questions to ask yourself before you start writing that novel: Just incase you missed this one in the above link. Definitely a must!
- The Language Construction Kit: Thinking of creating a language for your next novel? This kit will sure come in handy!
- Ardalambion: J.R.R Tolkien created the Tongues of Arda - languages for the World of Middle Earth. This here is the most comprehensive online resource for everything you ever wanted to know to know about the languages of Middle Earth.
- Improve Everything Your Write in 3 Mins or Less: A small image that shows you how to improve your writing in three minutes, or less. I use it every now, and then.
- AutoREALM: Free software to create/draw that fantasy world for your novel.
- 5 Ways Not to Write a Novel: Weird source, but a great read none the less. What I don’t like about this post is the fact that it keeps referring to other books, and leaving most of the explanations for self study.
- Mama Kat’s World Famous Writing Prompts: A great writing prompt resource.
- A Simple Novel Outline – 9 questions for 25 chapters: How to define the elements in your story. Great questions, and a good read.
- The Best Author Blogs: An awesome list of author blogs. Definitely one for the bookmark folders!
- 10 Amazing Free Online Writing Courses: Just as the title suggests- A list of free courses on writing.
- 10 Universities Offering Free Writing Courses Online: Another list of free online writing courses- this time by Universities.
- Lectures on Writing By Brandon Sanderson: Brandon Sanderson is one my of favorite authors. Here’s a youtube playlist of 78 must watch videos that teach a lot of writing fantasy fiction! - by Write About Dragons.
- Writing Tension and Conflict: A good post on how to write tension, and conflict.
- Fantasy Factor: A great general resource for fantasy writers.
- The Not So Grand List Of Overused Fantasy Cliches: The title says it all- Funny, and definitely helpful for a newbie like me.
- 101 of the Best Fiction Writing Tips, Part I: A multipart tips based post for writing fiction. Great tips!
- 11 Stupidest Writing Mistakes: Definitely a must read. I was guilty for committing the Comma Vomit, sometime ago.
- Plague Words and Phrases: Some words, and phrases we use cause problems. This here is a list of such words, and phrases. The list describes the problems, and offers suggestions.
- Which famous writer you write like: One of my favorite tools. Just copy paste what you’ve written into the text box on this page, and it tells you which famous writer you write like. I tested this with some of my writings, and apparently I write like Kurt Vonnegut.
- Ambiguous Words: An awesome list of ambiguous words- words that have multiple meanings. And so, these words can be used in a variety of settings, situations, poems, and so on. Definitely one for the bookmarks.
- How to write with style: An old, old article by Kurt Vonnegut (Stumbled on this one when I was doing some research on him, because apparently I write like him- see above). Great read! For every kind of writer there is.
- Finishing Your Novel: A nice read about how you can finish your novel if you’ve started it, and never finished it. Or if you want to start one now. It’s more a recount of personal experiences, and what worked for Timothy Hallinan.
Some Personal Ideas That May Help With Your Novel Writing:
- Use Workflowy for that novel! Worflowy is a great resource, for everything that you need to do. Read my review on workflowy.
- Use Free, hosted CRM softare to keep track of your characters, just a thought. Sign up for something like Highrise (they have a free plan you could use), etc. Alternatively just create a contact group in gmail, etc. An excel sheet also does wonders. Alternatively you can use Novlr’s, or Novelize’s character panels.
- Start a history blog: This is something I am inclining towards. To learn more about history, and as such learn more in terms of research for my novel writing. Just an idea from the top of my head.
- Use Mindmapping tools. There a lot of options to choose from, and most of them are for free. Here’s Bubbl to get you started.
Last But Not The Least
Here’s a video by David Shiyang Liu which is basically audio and typography. It’s Ira Glass talking about Storytelling. Definitely worth your two minutes.
Ira Glass on Storytellin
PS: If you guys find any non-working links, let me know please! Thank you!