We are mere days away from the start of National Novel Writing Month, so here are some helpful tools and tips for embarking on this bizarre journey:

  • Pacemaker allows you to set a word count goal for your manuscript and then a strategy like “Mountain Hike” in which your greatest effort is in the middle of the month. (That’s my preference, anyway.)
  • Workflowy is a supremely flexible and easy-to-use outlining tool. (Read my interview for more about how I use Workflowy to outline.)
  • These two Mythcreants posts by Chris Winkle have solid advice: “Outline a Short Story in Seven Steps” and “How to Turn Your Concept into a Story”. I also think that Christine Frazier’s day-by-day outline for NaNoWriMo could be useful if you’re starting from absolute scratch.
  • Scrivener is my software of choice. I used Ulysses for a while, but I missed features like the corkboard and the ability to snapshot a draft before revising. (NaNoWriMo participants get a 20% discount on the software, too.)
  • Don’t re-read what you’ve just written. That will engage your editor-brain, and there is no time for editing in November, only writing!

Share your favorite tools and tips in the comments. And good luck!

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