How to Maximize Word Count During NaNoWriMo


If you’re one of the participants in National Novel Writing Month, you know that the end of the month is closing in. We’ve only seven days left!

I hope your writing is right on track, but if you’re a little behind, don’t lose hope yet! There’s still time to pick up that word count and make up whatever ground you still have to cover.

On that note, I’ve got some tips for getting those words in. Let’s face it, there are ways to increase your word count that are not so healthy to have as writerly habits. Included in the list of Worst Ways to Pad Word Count are: copying and pasting a block of text multiple times, adding needles obscenities as adjectives before every noun, have a character repeatedly experience intense déjà vu, omitting hyphens, etc.

Padding Your Word Count – The Good Way

But there are other ways to boost your word count that can actually help you better flesh out your story.  I present the following list, as my personal gift to help make your NaNoWriMo as successful as possible.

  1. Outline – Did you neglect your prewriting before November? Has your story arc changed since then? If your story’s began to slide down a slope to who-knows-where, now might be a great time to regain some focus. Type your outline in your novel, and suddenly you’ve added both words and direction.
  2. Add character descriptions – By now you probably know more about your characters. What they like, what they don’t and who they want to kill at the moment. Writing a character description will help both your clarity of background info and your word count.
  3. Write deleted scenes – You know the scenes that won’t make it into the final draft because they don’t advance the plot and the ones that happen before your story begins. But just because they don’t happen in the book doesn’t mean writing them won’t help your story. Sometimes allowing yourself the chance to delve into back story helps to enrich your main story. Remember, you can always delete them (or move them to another file) after NaNoWriMo.
  4. Write another point of view – The story is all about your protagonist, which is where most (if not all) of your points of view should be focused. But writing a scene from another point of view might be incredibly eye-opening. You may even spark an idea of something you want to change.
  5. Say it another way – Don’t like the last sentence you wrote? Try it again. And again. But don’t bother to erase the mess-ups. They’ll count for you and also give you options when you go back to edit later. You don’t even have to decide which way you want to say it – NaNoWriMo is the perfect opportunity for indecision!
  6. Add sub-plots and tangents – When editing your story, you’ll whittle away the fluff and the unnecessary plots that muddle up your main story arc. But it’s NaNoWriMo! This is the time to get out all your excess ideas. Let your characters roam where they want. It’ll only help you get to 50,000 faster.

I hope these ideas help. Now get back to it. Happy writing!

You might also be interested in:

Discovering Inspiration: National Novel Writing Month, part 1

Discovering Inspiration: National Novel Writing Month, part 2

 

NaNoWriMo 2011 Is Here!

 

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  1. #1 by Misha on November 27, 2011 - 6:58 am

    Great tips! I hope your NaNo is going well. :-)

    • #2 by Becca Campbell on November 27, 2011 - 5:42 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Misha. I hit my 50K on day 19 and I just finished my book this week. Hope yours is on track, too!

  2. #3 by Kern Windwraith on October 11, 2012 - 9:30 pm

    I love the idea of writing deleted scenes. Apart from being a legitimate way to pad the NaNoWriMo story, it gives you a chance to fool around with some of the minor characters, maybe tease a bit more plausibility into them. Great suggestions!

    • #4 by Becca Campbell on October 27, 2012 - 2:53 pm

      Glad to help! Thanks for the comment. Good luck with your NaNoWriMo next month!

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