- Let the novel begin!
My novel, A Time to Die, begins with the main goal of first clicks morphing into a 50,000 word count in thirty days. I could achieve the required goal by hitting the “a” key for a full line at the end of every page, every paragraph or chapter, but the twin goal is to have a working draft on November 30, not a series of unintelligible alpha characters. So, how do I attain both the required count and keep my novel moving forward at the same time. I don’t edit mistakes that up my word count. Today, I followed these basics.
1. Omit pronoun/verb contractions: He’s (one word) versus He is (two words) doubles my word count.
2. Add “He said, she said,” to two-person conversation where the clarification isn’t necessary (two more words).
3. Add “the” and “that” when omission sounds better. “Vi said that she agreed,” versus the concise format of “Vi agreed.” (Two words mushroomed into five.)
4. Leave an occasional adjective or adverb, a real no-no for modern manuscripts. Instead of “Vi meandered through the flea market,” say “Vi walked slowly through the flea market vendor stalls.” (I gain three words.)
5. When a chapter break is clear, I add the obvious word “Chapter.” (One word).
A few words here and there don’t (or should I say do not?) sound like much, but added to every page, they can generate an early November win. Later when I edit this first draft to present at a critique group, I’ll streamline with the minimum 10% word cut. Other members may edit other cuts, producing a cleaner manuscript. That makes word padding in November a win-win situation.