I’ve peeked at the NaNoWriMo challenge a couple of times last few months. It’s about writing a 50.000 word novel in one month. Quantity, yes indeed! Quality, not so important.
It seemed like a fun thing to try, but in the end I figured out I’m just a little too pressed on time this year to do it.
Anyway, I did go so far as to buy the founders book about writing novels – “No plot, No problem“. In the first few chapters, Chris Baty describes his experiences from NaNoWriMo since it’s inception 1999.
One of the key things about writing at such a high speed is skipping anything related to editing the text: no spelling corrections, no grammar fiddling, no fixing dialogue punctuation.
Being the entrepreneur/programmer I am I thought – “Can I translate this principle into some kind of interactive software?”.
So I started thinking about removing the possibility of changing previous paragraphs, or shadowing out text further up in the document. I had a little chat with Maloki, who mentioned the importance of the Word Count in the challenge. And then I thought – maybe that’s it? Just show the word count, and skip everything else?
Said and done, I set out to hack up a little Python script. The result is “devul”, an application that features pointing out a text file, adding words to it, while only viewing the number of words in the text file.
The program is written for the free operating system Ubuntu. This is how you run it:
python devul.py mytext.txt
The name “devul” is a combination of “/dev/null” and “devil”.
<– This is the logo of devul. I’ve hosted the project on bitbucket, if you want to fork and improve it – like changing from black/white colors to something more fun, or maybe some background picture? Or a more nice-to-look-at font than the system font. 🙂