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Posts Tagged ‘word count’

There are also lots of little tricks to “pad” your word count:

~Use a character that has a speech impediment (like a stutter or a lisp) and has to keep clarifying what they are saying or others have to repeat to clarify;

~Use dreams or nightmares to fill in the story or maybe to portray a character’s real feelings about something.

~Don’t use contractions.  Write the words out.  “Don’t”  counts as one word, whereas “do not” counts as two words.  You’d be surprised how many times we use contractions so you could add a couple of hundred words with this alone.

~Instead of using numbers, write the word out.  The number doesn’t count in your word count but if you write it out, it counts.

~Use a character with a long name.  Instead of using Mary, try using Mary Ellen for an additional word with each use.  You could also have a character that insists on using their full name such as Professor Henry Charles Smythe, Senior.  That takes up five words instead of two that you might use if you referred to him as Professor Smythe.

~Instead of numbering chapters, name them with words.  You can also add a description of what happens in the chapter along with the title.  For example:  “Chapter Seven In which Thomas meets Sally while pondering his future.”

~Use lyrics to a song occasionally.  Have a character think, speak or sing the lyrics.  You can do the same with poems.

~Have a character who is a movie or tv buff who goes off on tangents relating the action in the novel to some movie or tv show or comparing a character in the novel with a tv or movie character.  He/she can even quote movies and tv shows often.

~You can use local lore or trivia of some of your locations when you introduce a new location (or when otherwise appropriate).  For example:  Instead of “She walked across campus,” try “As she walked across campus, she thought about all the hundreds of thousands that had walked those steps before her.  Some had become world famous.  Some were in the history books.  She looked around and wondered if John F. Kennedy had seen Hoover Tower from that same location and what he had thought about it.  She smiled to herself as she thought of the amazing opportunities that had opened up to her.”

~Write out the time.  Instead of 3 pm, use “three o’clock in the afternoon”.  When you use the number, it doesn’t count as a word so by writing it out, you’ve used five words instead of zero.

~Use a character that is hard of hearing and has to keep asking others to repeat what they said.

~Give your characters pets.  The pets’ actions will add words.  The character will need to feed them and interact with them so that adds to the word count.  Pets may necessitate visits to the pet store or the vet or the dog park, etc.  All of these will add to your word count as your story moves along.

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Nano Talk ~Word Count

These days the forums and message boards all over NaNoWriMo world are buzzing with posts about strategies for getting your daily word count and how to add to the word count and how to make it to fifty thousand words.

My strategy?  It changes from year to year.  As far as word count goes, I know that to get to fifty thousand by November 30, one must write a minimum of 1,667 words each day.  However, I also know that there will be days that I just cannot write do to illness, travel, or other obligations.  So how do I deal with this?  I plan on writing a minimum of three thousand words a day.  I also plan on at least one day a week of a long block of writing which should yield about five thousand words.  That said and done,  and adding in “lost time”, I try to plan to reach fifty thousand around November 25th.  If on that day I am still behind, then I sit and write for as long as I can each day til I reach the word count and if that means no sleep, so be it.  Sleep can come on December 1st.

Oh!  And don’t forget to allow a cushion on the word count.  Plan on getting to 50,500, at least.  Then when you enter it into the word count validator, you won’t be surprised if you come up short.  I’ve seen my word processing program have one word count and theirs have a different word count by maybe as much as fifty or sixty words but I plan for this by getting in “extra” words.

More next time.

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And so it begins…

Last night I headed out to a local café for a midnight NaNoWriMo write-in. Armed with my GPS, I drove 25 minutes then found the place. However, I couldn’t get to it because I was on the wrong side of a concrete divider. I got turned around and then missed it again because it wasn’t well lit from that angle. After I went around another two times, I got there. One problem. There were no parking spaces. I had anticipated this because I called ahead. The owner of the café told me there was a Subway store across the street and I could park there with no problem. I looked for the Subway and it was waaaayyyyy across the street…SIX LANES, three in each direction. I first looked for a space on the side of the street that I was on and couldn’t find any. I searched for four blocks in all directions. Nothing. The Subway parking lot was completely filled. It was raining. I don’t know about you but I am not about to park four blocks away in an industrial area and walk, alone, with my purse and laptop and no jacket. Nope. Not me. So I headed back home.

In the end, I had wasted almost two hours in travel time, getting lost time, assessing the parking situation time, and driving back home time. I walked in the door at home at 12:05 am and had to start up the desktop and load my MS Office before I could start writing. After 20 minutes, I took my first break to fix some coffee and visit the potty. More writing. Within an hour, I had written 2650 words. I quit at that point because my neck and back hurt. Today, I haven’t written anything for my novel. I just don’t feel like it. I’m sure I’ll give it all another try some time tonight and again tomorrow. I’ll be happy if I can get to 6,000 words by the end of the weekend. I don’t think that’ll be a problem. I tend to write fast so I think I can easily get there.

So that’s how it starts.

Let’s see how it ends!

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