Monday, October 24, 2016

5 Tips to Increasing Your Word Count

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) starts next week and that means a whole month of writing and trying to hit the magic count of 50,000 words.  I've signed up (as usual) and hope to again make that magic number and end up on November 30th with a new book.

Every year as NaNo rolls around I find myself trying to think of new ways to get myself in gear to make it happen. How can you get prepared for writing every day or at least every other day for a whole month? Well, here are five tips to think about or to try:

1. Just write. Don't worry about the word count or start checking back to see how many words you have written in the last hour. Be ready to just start writing. If you even have the semblance of a plot this is the week to start thinking about it.  Don't wait until the morning of November first to start considering what you are going to say. Be prepared to sit down at the keyboard and start hacking out the words.  How do you do that?

2. List plot points in advance. That is why I start thinking this week. I will make my list of scenes that I know will happen in the book. Sometimes they are out of order, but that can always be fixed in editing. Sometimes I simply list any scene that I know will go into the book so I have something to start with on the first day.

3.  Don't wait to get motivated. Again, on that morning of November first, don't expect your head to necessarily be ready.  You can hope it will be, but even if it isn't, just sit down and write.  Write whatever comes into your head. That's why it is critical to begin thinking in advance. At least have some sort of idea what you might want to say.

4.  Write about your character. If you don't have something preplanned then write a scene having your character do something that you know will have to happen in the story. Whether it is meeting the villain or the love of his or her life, write that scene and get yourself starter.

5.  Don't worry about order. Simply start writing.  Things can always be fixed, but you won't achieve your word count if you are checking every little detail. The words can be fixed. The scene can be changed, or added to. But it won't get done if there is nothing there.  As Nora Roberts says, "you can't edit a blank page.

So start thinking this week and get ready to go.  I'll be taking time from my own NaNo word count for the next month to bring you new ideas for making NaNoWriMo work for you.

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