Plus Layout Builder App

And now for something completely different – not exactly paperbased, but I guess you could use it for designing tiled collage layouts … maybe 😉

UPDATE: Web version available now too! Plus Layout Builder Web Version.

After four frustrating days battling a bad headache it finally lifted today and left me with a yearning to cut some code. I’d been playing around with an idea for a new crochet afghan. I wanted it to be solid colour granny squares laid out in an interlocking plus or cross pattern. The hassle was working out a suitably random layout.

And so this little app was born.


It’s super simple. Just put in the number of rows and columns required (maximum of 40 rows and 30 columns) and how many colours you’d like to use (minimum of 5, maximum of 15). Hit the Go button and it will generate a random layout for you.

This version is very very very very very basic. Just enough to generate the layout. There’s no way to save a layout, or print at present – although you can take a screen capture when you come across a layout you like.

Download the Plus Layout Builder zip file here – Windows application, tested on Windows 7 Pro 64-bit.

UPDATE: Web version available now too, and you can print your layout directly from the webpage (you might need to fiddle with the print dialog settings to show background images so that it will print the colours, otherwise you get a nice b&w numbered grid). Check it out here: Plus Layout Builder Web Version.

App is provided as-is for personal use only. Please don’t link directly to the download file, link to this webpage instead. And please don’t download to sell or distribute elsewhere.


NaNoWriMo 2013 Prep

So it’s been roughly four years since my last attempt at NaNoWriMo. Mainly because those four years have been spent playing Mum instead. My last attempt in 2009 was a complete fizzle – I spent more time soothing a crying child and catching up on sleepless nights than nurturing a wordcount. This year however I’m claiming November as “me-time” and committing to getting NaNo done!

My prep so far:

– Told my family to block out November as “me-time” for Mum.

– Updated my account info on My nickname’s LastDance on there. Feel free to add me as a writing buddy!

– Got my writers ideas notebook ready. It’s just a little notebook that fits in my handbag. Only a couple of pages of ideas so far, but fast adding to it.

– Picked up a copy of Chris Baty’s No Plot, No Problem for my kindle – for only $1.99! Now that’s a bargain.

– Downloaded Scrivener and gave it a whirl. I know it’s not necessary for NaNo, but it does look really cool and if I like it and hit the 50K word count I can purchase it for 50% off. They have a really great trial offer going specifically for NaNoWriMo participants – instead of the usual 30 day trial it will keep running until December 7th.

– Got some Rory’s Story Cubes to play with. These things are brilliant – never be stuck for a plot idea again! Aimed at the kids, they’re still good idea joggers for adults. I purchased the Android app – it’s like having a set of virtual story dice in your phone. You just shake the phone to roll the dice, complete with sound effects. My son loves them 🙂  The app only costs around $2 and comes with two sets of 9 dice. An extra $2 or so gets you another set of 9 dice – so for around $4 you can have all three main sets of dice. Can’t wait to play with this one more.

– Attended a planning day for my NaNoWriMo Region and the Kick Off Party. Meeting other Wrimo’s is definitely the way to go – it adds instant motivation and assures you that anything you’re worrying about to do with NaNo, others are too. Even better – someone has probably got just the right advice or a ready made solution to whatever your worry or problem was about 🙂

So, are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? Do you have any tips for preparation?