03 November 2009

10 on Tuesday: ways to boost your word count

I'm sure you'll use these techniques more as it gets closer to November 30th and your word count needs padding a little, but I'm offering it now just in case.

Good luck!

  1. Don't use contractions.  Instead, write them out ("do not," "I will," etc.).  It gives you one extra word each time you would normally use a contraction.
  2. Separate compound words ("some thing," "any way," "night stand," etc.).
  3. Use full names of things and places rather than shortening or abbreviating.  This is especially useful for things that would normally be named using an acronym.
  4. Omit hyphens.  Use spaces instead.  ("Mother in law" instead of "mother-in-law")
  5. Use more "formal" writing to add words.  For example, instead of saying "She wrote formally so she could pad her word count," say "She wrote formally in order that she could pad her word count."
  6. Go into as much detail as you can.
  7. If you're writing third-person limited or first-person, let your prose have a little of a stream-of-consciousness vibe to it.  Let your characters ramble (internally and externally) for a while.
  8. Introduce a new character, and describe him or her while employing #6 and #7.
  9. Take your characters to a new place and employ #6 and #7.
  10. Add flashbacks.


  1. LOVE! I'm pretty sure #1, #2, and #4 are the only reason I won last year.

    And I'm finding the beauty of first person is that the characters are free to ramble a bit. Stream-of-consciousness for the win!

    Also, I'm totally writing that minor character chapter. I'm just going to let him ramble until I love him. :P

  2. Yay for rambling! I'm employing the use of journal entries of the main character and prayers said aloud by the different characters! I also may or may not have included a grocery shopping list.


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