Wednesday, May 19, 2010
How to cheat when writing your novel
Name Generator – For some people, they know their character name even before the character is fully formed in their mind. Others keep a notebook to record names they like. Some of us use maps or phone books to find a name that fits and there are always baby books. But if none of these options are working or you really just want a name for a random character in your story, try out a Name Generator. There are many out there (watch out for the ones designed for gamers as you’ll likely end up with a very unusual name—unless you write fantasy and then a dungeons and dragons site might be the right source for you). I like this one found on Brenda Coulter’s site (see bottom of the page): http://brendacoulter.com/BrendaCoulterTips.htm
Online Thesaurus – The thesaurus has long been a faithful writing companion. Can’t find the right word? Look up the wrong word and see what alternatives are provided. Now anywhere you have internet, you have a thesaurus. Check out my favourite online source: http://www.thesaurus.com/. (I’m probably not telling you anything new here...)
Plot Generators – If you or your characters seem to be stuck in a rut or if you’ve been staring at a blank screen for two days, take a break and check out these random plot generators. Have fun with them. They might give you the great idea you are looking for.
- NielsonHayden: http://nielsenhayden.com/overlord
- Future Fiction: - http://futureisfiction.com/plotpoint/index.cgi?
- A random story-line generator: http://www.lifeformz.com/cgi-bin/idea/idea.fcgi
Last year Anita wrote a whole post on random generators. Click here to check it out: http://prairiechickswriteromance.blogspot.com/2009/04/random-generators.html
Novel writing software – While some online ads boast they make writing a novel easy with their writing software, I am more than a bit skeptical about what the software actually does. Software programs like Kikaboo appear to offer a way to organize your novel (I think it is like electronic storyboarding but haven’t looked into it). While an Excel spreadsheet or pad of sticky notes can be very effective, it might be interesting to check this out: https://launchpad.net/kabikaboo
Personality Quizes – Want a jump start on creating your character profile? Answer some questions based on how you think your character might act, think, or feel in certain situations and you will get a quick profile of your character’s personality. There are a number of resources available online but not all of them are free. Keirsey offers a preliminary test at no cost: http://www.keirsey.com/
Feel free to share any secrets you use when you “cheat” in writing!