NaNoWriMo :: Writing Tools

tfgscrivenerWith National Novel Writing Month coming up, it’s time to talk about resources.

Writing 50,000 words in 30 days definitely requires a few supports. Mine are herbal tea, chocolate, healthy snacks, and music. But there are also some useful books, programs and websites to be aware of when wanting to write fiction.

Helpful Books

These books have been helpful at some point in my process, and those with *asterisks* had a profound effect on the way I approach writing:

  • The Write Great Fiction series

** ~ Plot and Structure – James Scott Bell

~ Revision and Self-Editing – James Scott Bell

~ Characters, Emotion and Viewpoint – Nancy Kress

  • Elements of Fiction Writing series

** ~ Beginnings, Middles and Ends – Nancy Kress

  • ** Hooked ~ Les Edgerton
  • ** On Writing ~ Stephen King
  • ** Write a Novel and Get it Published ~ Nigel Watts
  • No plot? No problem! ~ Chris Baty
  • How Not to Write a Novel ~ Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark
  • Writers on Writing ~ James Roberts, Barry Mitchell and Roger Zubrinich
  • ** Wannabe a Writer? ~ Jane Wenham-Jones
  • The Creative Writing Coursebook ~ Julia Bell and Paul Magrs
  • ** Creative Novel Writing ~ Roselle Angwin
  • Self-Editing for Fiction Writers ~ Renni Browne and Dave King

Computer Programs

Over the last few years, I’ve tried a lot of different software. This is a brief list of the most useful ones for my own process:

XMind ~  a mapping software which I’m beginning to use just to keep character notes clear. There are X clan and Y clan – members of X, complete with eye colour, hair, power, dress sense and relationships. All colour-coded and printable.

** Scrivener ~ best thing I’ve ever bought for novelling. I don’t even use it to write the novel in. But to plan out the plot on the corkboard and to order things, to have character notes and having everything I’ve ever deleted in a nice “trash” folder in case I want it again is priceless.

Microsoft Word 2003 ~ I completed one NaNoWriMo on my mum’s computer using Word 2007, which despite the plus of a wordcount at the bottom of the screen, made it all more complicated. I grew up with Windows 3.1 and the closest I can be to Windows 98, the happier I am. So Word 2003: I has it.

Evernote ~ This is a brilliant find for me. In terms of a to-do list, notes from webpages, and being able to write on my tablet at work and then ‘sync’ it up with my computer automatically, it’s so valuable. It’s brilliant.


NaNoWriMo.Org ~ The main website is clearly the NaNoWriMo forums; where you can connect with writers all over the world. ~ Every X words you write, it provides a new cute kitten picture to look at. Must like “WriteOrDie”, this focuses on motivating you to write more. Write or Die can delete the words you’ve written though, which never motivated me. ~ Perhaps an odd suggestion, but the #wordsprint or #wordwars hashtags are so useful to bring friendly competition into your writing. Equally, the #amwriting or #nanowrimo hashtags can help you find other users who write.

What are your favourite resources; both for NaNoWriMo and writing in general?

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