National Novel Writing Month (a.k.a. NaNoWriMo) lies just around the corner. In a few days, thousands of novelists and novelists-in-the-making will set to writing 50,000 words in only one month. Though I'm not participating this year, I wanted to put together a few resources that might help other writers with their NaNoWriMo stories. These are primarily generators of various kinds, random things I found that could be useful, and a few other sites that have helped me over the years.
NaNoWriMo is all about speed and keeping the words flowing, and sometimes coming up with a name for something can stall you. From longer term needs – like main characters – to short “I just need a name now, dang it” needs, here are a few sites I've come across that might help you pull up some quick, good names for people and things in your NaNoWriMo project.
- Random Name Generator – Pretty straightforward generator of names
- Name Generator – This looks fairly basic on the surface, but if you check out the right hand sidebar, you'll see generators for everything from medieval names to place names to boat names. It's also nice in that it saves a list of the names you've generated in a box on a lower portion of the page, sparing you the trouble of remembering “that one name five refreshes ago that I actually sorta liked”.
- Behind the Name – This site lets you research the etymology of names, but it also features a name generator that gives you numerous options in the type of name you generate. Options include names from varying ethnicities, names from ancient cultures and mythology, as well as fantasy names, hillbilly names and even names of the Transformers.
- Victorian and Steampunk Name Generator
- Fantasy Name Generator
(Baby) Name Sites
- Baby Names World – This site is very helpful. It allows you to search through lists of names sorted by origin, popularity in a given year, etc. One word of warning, however. There are ads that play automatically on the right-hand side, and you probably want to mute them ASAP.
- BabyNames.com – Also very helpful with categories such as popularity in given years, etc.
- ThinkBabyNames.com – The site has a basic layout, but it's been occasionally useful in finding meanings for names that other sites don't recognize.
Calculators and Time
Math not always being my strong point, sometimes I struggle to calculate things like “If a population starts with 100 people, how many will it have in one thousand years?” That's where online calculators have come in handy. Below are a few calculators that might help you with some details of your NaNoWriMo story.
Population, Travel and Age
- Population Calculator – Helps with questions like the one above.
- Age Calculator – Good if you have a story with specific dates and need to make certain what ages various characters would be at those times.
- Speed Calculator – Also useful for travel time and distance calculations.
- Gas Mileage Calculator – Also useful for any stories involving cars, to make certain they can travel the distances being discussed.
- Time.Is – Useful for generalized comparisons of a time in one location to the time in another (in other words: “Okay, so if it's ten o'clock in Wichita, what time is it in Singapore?”).
- TimeAndDate.com – Similar to Time.Is, but with the added benefit of being able to compare multiple cities at once.
World Famous Random Kitten Generator
No list of things to help writers would be complete without a distraction, and what better distraction exists than kittens (don't answer that)? If you're stuck in your NaNoWriMo project, go enjoy the World Famous Random Kitten Generator for a few minutes. If nothing else, it might make you smile.