Write or Die v2.0 is an insidiously ingenius way to keep your word count up -- and to punish yourself for avoiding writing when you take those unscheduled "just a few minutes" Facebook breaks that turn into two-hour online stalk-fests. Just in case, you know, you do that. Which I don't. Often.
Basically, you go to the Web site, choose a word count goal and a time goal. You also choose a 'mode.' Then a white box pops up, where you do your writing. It doesn't have any word processor-type frills. The point is to just write, forget editing, and later you can paste what you've written into Microsoft Word and edit to your heart's content.
Those modes. That's where the insidious part comes in. Here are your choices (lifted straight from the Web site):
Gentle Mode: A certain amount of time after you stop writing, a box will pop up, gently reminding you to continue writing.
Normal Mode: If you persistently avoid writing, you will be played a most unpleasant sound. The sound will stop if and only if you continue to write.
Kamikaze Mode: Keep Writing or Your Work Will Unwrite Itself
I tried this on Normal Mode. I started typing and then stopped. After a few seconds, the screen turned red and a song about a banana phone came on. The singer sounted like Alvin the Chipmunk on crack. Totally annoying. But the minute I started typing, it went away. Apparently it will also play Peanut Butter Jelly Time and something by Hanson (woo hoo!). Kamikaze mode sounds frightening--your words start deleting themselves. Which I guess in some cases could be a good thing.
I totally wish I'd had Write or Die when I was working on my first draft. It would have curbed my editing impulses and maybe I'd have finished the thing in less than THREE YEARS.
Write or Die won't help me right now because I'm revising. But it would be perfect for NaNo-ers. And I think it could work no matter what you're writing: term paper, office memo, love letter...
Here's the YouTube demonstration. It's about 5 minutes long and Dr. Wicked's voice is monotone, but he shows you exactly how it works.