Pencil to Paper

The Daily Life of a Compulsive Writer

NaNo Tip # 2: Word Count Boosters November 6, 2010

Filed under: Writing — katblogger @ 2:01 PM
Tags: , , ,

Not meeting your daily quota? Worried you won’t finish in time? Never despair! Here’s how to pad that word count with a few simple tactics.

1. What’s in a Name?

Playing with names is a great way to boost your words. Introduce a new character like ‘Billy Joe Bob of Darkness, Prince of Evil and Beloved of His People.’ Then have him refuse to be referred to by anything shorter. Or have a character forget everyone else’s names repeatedly and call them the wrong things, resulting in a long and convoluted confusion scene. Wonderful!

2. So This One Time…

Sit your characters down and have them exchange backstories. Long and convoluted backstories, full of tragedy and ridiculous word count boosting antics. Try to remember to keep it in character, though, so you might be able to keep something.

3. I Have a Dream…

Dream sequences, as a reader, are annoying. They’re not realistic – who ever has had a dream that gives them deep insight into their personal situation? – and they’re often far too contrived. However, as a NaNoer, dreams are perfect. You can write all sorts of ridiculous stuff and get away with it, because dreams don’t make sense. If you’re in the middle of a thriller and want to write about purple platypuses on Mars for a while, have your character conk out and get to writing!

4. Contractions? What Contractions?

If you’re really desperate for a few extra hundred words, especially when you’re so close to the finish line, you can go into the replace function and change contractions into their root words. This will make things awkward, but a few I’m to I am situations help a surprising amount. You do need to watch out, however, for tricky little ‘I’d’. I accidentally changed all the ‘I’d’s to ‘I had’s two years ago, forgetting about I would, I should, etc. Therefore, I ended up with lovely sentences like these…

Instead of: I would like to eat the cake.

                   I had like to eat the cake.

Instead of: I should be going now, it’s getting dark.

                   I had be going now, it’s getting dark.

In conclusion, all these word boosting measures are good… in moderation. Just don’t overuse them, because you had be careful.


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