For Day 4 in your preparation for NaNo (National Novel Writing Month), I have some tips that you can use while you are actually writing. These three tips focus on increasing your word count. They are useful if you’re having trouble making your word count each day.
Using contractions is a natural part of writing. It’s how we talk, but for the duration of NaNo, contractions are your enemy. They take two words and shorten them into one. If you’re short on your word count for the day, use the Find/Replace feature in your word processor to root out all the instances of I’m, don’t, can’t, won’t and change them to I am, do not, can not, will not. Scan through what you have written to locate other contractions and replace those too.
Popular writing wisdom says ‘Don’t have your character look into a mirror and recite every detail of his or her appearance’ because that is a clichéd way to work in character description. NaNo wisdom says, “Describe everything.” Use the mirror trick to describe your character. Have a character look into his or her closet and expound on the exact contents (and what he thinks of every single piece of clothing). Every setting from bedroom to office to school to city park or wilderness can be described in infinite detail down to the smallest blade of grass or paperclip. Meticulous descriptions can add hundreds of words to your novel.
Include Realistic Dialogue
Listen to any conversation around you. It will be peppered with repeated words (“So, like, I went to the mall and he so wasn’t there, like I even care.”), nonsense words (Uh, um, huh) and rambling storytelling (“It went like this, but first I have to tell you, oh and remind me to tell you about the meeting, so we were standing there and to make a long story short…”). Include every single word that is said in a conversation. It may make for difficult reading of the story, but it makes your word count climb.
Now, you might cringe at the idea of inflating your word count with these methods, but keep your mind on the goal… getting your 50,000 words done. It is important for you to complete your 1,667 words each day. If you get behind, it is discouraging and really hard to catch up. You don’t want to find yourself nearing the end of November with 20,000 words to go. Your best strategy is to write 1,667 words each day. And if you’re having trouble getting them done, these tips can help you achieve your daily goal.
Next up, tips on how you can write faster and get you daily word count done in a jiffy.
Have writer friends who might enjoy this post? Send it to them with my compliments! And add me as a writing buddy at nanowrimo.org so I can follow your progress in November!