My 2013 NaNoWriMo Tools, Part 2

Ready for more tools? In today’s post, we’ll have Playing With Characters, Working Through a Block, and Just for Procrastination.

If you haven’t read Part 1 of My NaNoWriMo Tools, you can find it here

Playing With Characters

Character Traits – I just came across this resource, but it looks very handy, despite appearing to be targeted at RPG characters. I’ve played with it a bit so far, and it basically compiles all your information (and even offers some information for you that you might not have thought of) into a single place for you. It will accept custom dates (ie: fantasy dates for those who write fantasy besides me), but its location options are sadly lacking. It would nice if it had a way to enter a custom location, but oh well.

Hero Machine – I seem to forget about this tool until NaNo-time, but it is excellent for those of us who want to get the way our characters look down onto ‘paper’, but a lack of drawing skills prevents us from actually doing that. What’s the quality like, you ask? Take a look! These are my two main characters for this year’s NaNo novel (click for larger view):

You do have to work with their preset items, but it does work with layers. Layers basically means that you can stack things in a specific order, and have one item on top, and one item below, etc. You can resize, rotate, and skew items, etc. Dina’s hair, for example, is both skewed and resized, and it’s also two separate hair pieces.

Really, with the exception of the fact that the poses and clothing items are limited, you can do almost anything (character-illustration-wise) with this program.

And it’s free.

Aeon Timeline – Aeon Timeline was a NaNoWriMo sponsor last year (and this year), and I drooled over their program while simultaneously bemoaning the fact that it was only available for Mac. I think I almost cried.

This year, though, they’ve just released the public beta version for Windows.

It is lacking a couple of things – while you can create custom calendars in it (which is vital for me as a fantasy writer – even just playing around with it I’ve found one timeline inconsistency within Catalyst), you can’t control the consistency or length of leap years, only whether or not leap years are present. You also can’t control the length of lunar or solar cycles, and there isn’t currently anyway to track lunar or solar cycles at all.

That said, this is going to be a very handy tool. Since the Windows version is so new, though, save often. You never know when you will hit a bug.

Supposedly, it integrates with Scrivener, but I haven’t tried that feature yet, since I can barely find time to poke around with Scrivener at all.

Working Through a Block

chaotic shiny – aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallllll the generators you can think of. Seriously. If you’re legitimately stuck on something that you just can’t figure out a solution for (especially in fantasy where you can’t just look up research), try this site out. It’s also… easy to get lost just poking around there, though. – sometimes what you need to get through a creative block is to do something else. Maybe the block originated by something you’re frustrated with (either in your creative life, or in your real life), and sometimes the best way to vent is to… write a letter. FutureMe lets you write and send a letter to yourself in the future.

I plan to write a few letters that will arrive at different points in November. It should be fun, right?

Just for Procrastination

Spotify – Does your novel need a soundtrack? Of course! Ahem… here’s the in-progress one for Stars for the Dead.

Pinterest – ALL THE PICTURES. Great way to find inspiration for clothing, characters, locations… and also a total time-suck. Do not venture here without guarding yourself. I also have a Pinterest board for Stars for the Dead, though it’s not as developed as some of my other boards…

So what tools do you use for NaNoWriMo? Are you going to play with the Hero Machine, too? Share your pictures if you do!

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About Rebekah

Rebekah Loper writes character-driven epic fantasy featuring resilient women in trying and impossible circumstances who just want to save themselves but usually end up saving the world, often while falling in love.
She lives in Tulsa, OK with her husband, dog, two formerly feral cats, a small flock of feathered dragons (...chickens. They're chickens), and an extensive tea collection. When she's not writing, she battles the Oklahoma elements in an effort to create a productive, permaculture urban homestead.