Dawn Montgomery

Free For Writers

In Software on July 28, 2013 at 9:19 am

Freeware caution: always scan free downloads of anything for viruses and other threats before downloading the programs into your hard drive. Also, please note, these are things I use or are recommended by friends. I receive no compensation for these links. They’re really just here for your enjoyment. 

As we near the end of July’s Camp NaNoWriMo, the tension is mounting and panic is setting in. I have, including today, four days to write 25k. Now I’ve done it before, and I’m in the middle of an awesome writing spurt that might get me 10k more before I know it.

If it were November, I’d have it in the bag. It would be post Thanksgiving with the kids desperately playing in their room as much as possible before they had to go back to school. SuperChef and I would be breathing a little easier because our favorite holiday is behind us (we always stress a fantastic dinner, and since food is kind of what he does, it’s always a bit high on the stress factor).

As it stands, however, we’re in the dead middle of summer vacation, and the kids aren’t content to keep themselves occupied during my writing day. So we’ll see. I won’t give up without a fight! If you haven’t validated yet, make sure you do that from the front page of the CampNaNoWriMo site. It’s located under the blue tent on the right hand side of the page. Just click on the “Validate your word count to win” hyperlink to get in there. Paste your content and submit. You’ll have a validated word count :D. Easy.

If you’re still in the heart of Camp, bookmark this page for later. Keep writing and don’t stop! This page will be here when you’re done.

As I was scoping the ‘net, I came across some fabulous free stuff/sites I’d like to share with you all.

Lynn Viehl

Lynn is one of my heroes for many reasons. Long before Amazon offered free reads, this woman shared her worlds with us through ebooks she created. She’s an advocate of teaching and the importance of learning your craft. She’s also been my hero during two very difficult times in my life. The first was when I was in an abusive relationship I didn’t know how to get out of and the second was when I had to completely relearn how to write due to injuries I sustained in the service.

Neither were high moments in my life, but both were when she stepped in to bring me up and remind me that strength is in the heart. She’s a great and wonderful woman. She ALSO has a fantastic free read available on her blog. It takes place in her Disenchanted & Co. world. If you like steampunk and mysteries, this is the one for you.

She has tons of valuable resources on her writing blog as well and is one of the humblest NYT Bestselling Authors I’ve ever had the privilege to know.

Click on the image to the left to go straight to the post that offers the ebook. While you’re there, check out her other resources. You might just find some amazing information (and definitely some fantastic writing resources and other free ebooks). 

Pulp Science Fiction Fun

Pulp-O-Mizer_MurphyandMalone_The Kyrite ConspiracyMy grandmother and I used to set up shop at fleamarkets back when I was a kiddo. She was an incredible craftsman, but I was a bored kid. 😀 Out of sheer frustration, she would send me off with some money and I’d always manage to find a cache of dime store novels and pulp magazines someone was selling from their attic or something. I loved them. 😀

When I found Zappencackler’s Pulp Sci Fi Title-o-Tron, I lost hours, I think. 😀 And then…THEN…I found the Pulp-O-Mizer, a pulp magazine cover generator! During a particularly tough night where I couldn’t concentrate, I sat down and made this for a dear friend who is embarking on some pulp fiction fun. Check it out.

Font Fun

As you’ve probably noticed, I enjoy making buttons and digital art. Fonts are something I can never have enough of. Urban Fonts has a ton to pick from. The download was super easy. You download the zip file. Open it. Click on the font and hit install at the top of the window. Super easy.

Character Crazies

I have trouble with my characters on occasion. Sometimes I just don’t know them very well, and, honestly, I don’t learn much from “interviewing” them or doing random Q&A. I like to have a visual and have everything one spot.

This is what I use. The ABCharacter: List 26 quirks/traits of your character using the letters of the alphabet. They can’t be synonyms. “For the tough letters (X and Z) you can use words that contain the letters versus starting with them.” Here’s my list from Erica Ames of Voodoo Carnival:

Erica Ames ATC

Aggressive, Brave, Clever, Driven, Emotional, Fun, Guarded, Hell-raiser, Independent, Jack-of-all-trades, Kind, Loyal, Moneyless, Nightowl, Optimistic, Pensive, Quirky, Resourceful, Shutterbug, Teasing, Uninspired, Vexing, Worrier, EXcitable, Youthful, QuiZzical

If you’re having trouble finding the right words, check out Descriptive Words dot org.

Why not make some Trading Cards? Print them out and put them right next to your computer or get yourself a set of trading card divider sheets for on the cheap and throw a couple of these in there. This ATC was made at Big Huge Labs using a character image. I entered the character’s name and the title of the book, and then just pasted the ABCharacter list in the description. You can make it what you want.

Erica Ames Color ProfileUsing Degraeve’s Color Palette, you can enter the URL of a picture which represents the character. A favorite hand bag, painting, photo, whatever you think represents them. It will then show you a complete color palette based on that picture.

For Erica, I found a set of paintings she’d love and want to buy when she finally gets her big break. Color has a way of breaking down a character for me. You can usually tell a lot about a person in the way they dress, the colors they wear, and the accessories they use. This is just one more tool in the character building arsenal.

Are you messing around and trying to find some random traits for your character? Or bummed about backstory and can’t figure it out? Seventh Sanctum has some hilarious generators to check out. I needed a character waitress for the cafe scene. She needed to be nosy and a little annoying, but I was totally blanking on the description. On a whim I went over to Seventh Sanctum and ran 10 randoms on the “General Person Generator“. It nailed it in the first try:

“This lady reminds you of a looming thundercloud. She has deep-set chocolate-colored eyes. Her thick, curly, silver hair is worn in a style that reminds you of a plume of smoke. She is short and has a wasp-waisted build. Her skin is dark. She has bushy eyebrows. Her wardrobe is classy and unusual, with a lot of violet and green.”

It was a great inspiration. I saw an older woman with a permanent frown and super teased hair. Her dark skin is the result of too many hours in a tanning bed and I changed the eyebrows to plucked until a tiny line remained.  I now see her bustling around and arching her almost nonexistent eyebrow at Erica when she orders “Coffee. Black. And keep it coming.” 😀

Random Fun Stuff

Superstickies is a fun little app that lets you create your own Stickies. Check it out:

Off to slay ghouls

Neat, right?

Well, that’s it for this round of interesting tidbits. Time for my Round of Words in 80 Days update.

#ROW80 update

ROW80LogocopyNew goals

  1. Spirit Lake: Spirit Lake didn’t make it far. I made zero progress on it.
  2. Voodoo Carnival: Voodoo made it 7k. I’m 3k shy of my 10k goal, but I’m still writing.
  3. The Collector: I’ve decided to do another Cleis Press submission. I have to admit they had me at “Sexy Librarian” in the anthology title. These short stories are so refreshing after Thunder and Roses. I love writing them. It’s due August 1st, but I’ll have it done well before then. “My goal is complete and submit by Sunday.” I’ve almost made this goal. The story is almost complete. Once it’s done, it’s in the bag. 😀
  4. I’ll update on Wednesday with my month summary as well as adjusting for new goals. Since August 1st is my anniversary, I won’t be online much (hence submitting the Cleis story early). 😀

All in all, I’m not super thrilled with my current word count, but I’m getting there. I would need to pull off another 25k by Wednesday to win CampNaNoWriMo. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but we are talking the middle of the summer and a house full of kids. Why did I ever think 50k would be a reachable goal during summer vacation? I could have gone with 30k and been perfectly fine.

If you’re interested in joining us on the Round of Words in 80 Days Challenge (your own goals for the quarter!), check it out HERE.

I’m part of a fantastic group, and if you’d like to see how everyone else is doing, check out the list HERE.

Keep Writing!

  1. Thank you for the list of freebies – I’ve downloaded Lynn Viehl’s book and I’m looking forward to reading it. Also the idea of creating ATCs for WIPs and characters is just a wonderful, fun, right brain activity. And I can still consider it work for my WIP.

    Best of luck with your writing goals for the week to come and the CampNaNo deadline. Yes, a house full of kids is not the easiest setting in which to write. But you ARE writing, and that’s the main thing. I’m in awe! 🙂

  2. Ooh, I’m going to have to try that ABCharacter with a few of my characters and see how I go. And who doesn’t like making trading cards?! Best of luck with the last leg of Camp NaNo, I hope you at least manage a few thousand words!

  3. I do love freebies and the those character descriptive examples are so my thang! I’m off to get me some. Oh, and the URban Fonts. I have way too many already, but there never seems to be enough, right? 🙂 Cheers Dawn. X

    Shah X


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