Another year, another NaNo: this was my twelfth National Novel Writing Month, and my twelfth victory. (I took a two-year vacation a couple of years ago.)
The NaNoWriMo forums were dull again this year, presumably due to the strict regulation of threads. The entire month of Scrivener discussion was once again crammed into one infinitely long and not particularly informative thread. (I used Scrivener again this year.)
It was a good year for mapping software, though; I discovered a nice island generator and the amazing Inkarnate in the forums (plus more Inkarnate examples on reddit). In the end, though, I just used Gimp to tweak a pre-existing map.
I was also inspired by the (one) conlanging thread in the forums both to start reading the conlangs subreddit instead and to google for an automatic conlang generator—just in case someone had written one I could use for a short visit by my characters to a distant port. And thus I discovered Gleb. (Scroll down if you don’t see the sample words there.) You need some familiarity with the International Phonetic Alphabet to get much out of Gleb. There’s a little more information about it at GitHub.
The timeline software discussion escaped into more than one thread, in one of which I offered some alternatives to Aeon Timeline, which has still not been updated with the update that might, possibly, enable it to handle my relatively tame fantasy calendar. Here are the timeline software suggestions I posted there:
- Timeliner features vertical styling and an optional Sci-Fi theme
- Timesheet.js looks like a Gantt chart and might be especially useful for plotting (but only at the whole-day level)
- TimelineJS (3) can take its data from a Google spreadsheet
- More suggestions from the writers StackExchange
For cat-vacuuming distraction, I fiddled a bit with Timesheet.js, then gave up on it. I was thinking about writing my own timeline software, since I’m not sure I’d want to use Aeon Timeline even if it could handle my calendar—I prefer lightweight, text-based tools—but instead I mostly worked on my map (which I actually needed, as my characters were traveling farther than usual) and added nautical terms to my (unpublished) conlang dictionary. I also read about recent developments in mythicism, which I hadn’t read much about since G. A. Wells and which was completely unrelated to my novel.
And, of course, in the little free time I had remaining, I wrote 50,000 words. Although I was expecting to end up with my usual half of a fantasy novel this year, I got very close to the end—or at least to a possible end—of my plot. So perhaps I have written that elusive novella, or perhaps I should really go straight into the action-packed sequel without pretending that the novel actually ended. One indication that the plot should go on is that I can’t imagine my characters would go home for a break; I think they’d do the next obvious thing right away.