Pep Talk Week #2: Padding Your Word Count – The Good Way

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.

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 needless obscenities as adjectives before every noun, omitting hyphens, etc.

Padding Your Word Count The Good Way

Last week, Jessica Dragon Cheramie gave some great JuNoWriMo tips. Here are my own strategies to make your JuNoWriMo as wordy as possible (in a good way!):

  1. Outline – Did you neglect to prewrite before June? 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 than before you began: 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. If you want to keep things organized, do it in a separate document – remember, you can still count the words since you’re writing them during June.
  1. Write deleted scenes – You know the scenes that won’t make it into the final draft because they don’t advance the plot? How about the ones that happen before your story begins? 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 really explore backstory will help to enrich your main story. Remember, you can always delete them (or move them to another file) after JuNoWriMo.
  2. 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 (or re-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.
  3. Say it another way – Don’t like the last sentence you wrote? Try it again. And again. But don’t erase the previous attempts. 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 – JuNoWriMo is the perfect opportunity for indecision! Let the words spew forth and reap a boost in your wordcount.
  4. Add sub-plots and tangents – When editing your story later, you’ll whittle away the fluff and the unnecessary plots that muddle up your main story arc. But right now it’s JuNoWriMo! This is the time to get out all your excess ideas. Let your characters roam where they want or navel-gaze for five pages. It’ll only help you get to 50,000 faster.

Remember, write now—edit later.

I hope these ideas help you get past Week Two. Now get back to it. Happy writing!

An author and dabbler in all things creative, Becca J. Campbell loves thinking up stories about supernatural abilities, experimenting with painting techniques, drawing in her sketchbook, and recycling stuff into cool products for her Etsy shop UpCycled Chic By Becca.

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