Word Padding for July Camp Or Anytime

It’s less than 48 hours to the deadline and you still have 5,000 words to write?

screaming-146426__180Don’t give in! This is still doable even if you don’t have much time to devote.

Here are some totally legal dirty tricks for adding words to any of your NaNo projects. Listen, learn, and put them into practice. There’s no shame in word padding for NaNo, it is, in fact, part of the game and might spark a new plot twist. ūüėÄ

A simple trick to get all of these in in a short amount of time will be at the end so keep reading.

  1. Give your characters long names, at least three to five words long. So Aidan becomes Aidan Edward Vincent St. Thomas. Donna becomes Donna Margaret Esther Louise Franklin. Pretty simple way of increasing by a LOT of words.
  2. Better still, add a title, Supreme Cat Carrier, Overpaid Overlord, Desk Jockey. So now, Freddie becomes Overpaid Desk Jockey Overlord Fredric Michael Benjamin Lane Peterson.
  3. Deconstruct contractions. Every¬†don’t¬†becomes¬†do not,¬†every¬†wouldn’t,¬†would not,¬†etc. Again, very simple with the trick below.
  4. Lists of words using “and” rather than commas also works. Add a grocery list; bananas and potatoes and hamburger and hamburger helper and bacon and brie cheese and kumquats and pistachios and Bernsteins delicious ice cream treats of wonderment.
  5. Long insults – Have you FMC hurl a lot of uncomplimentary words at the hero. Is she mad at him? She can call him a¬†smelly pile of unwashed socks that sat too long in the bottom of the laundry basket in a summer rain on a hot day. That was 24 words right there. It’s a great way to get some of your own freewriting therapy and add a couple of handsful of words.Purple Prose cat
  6. Add poetry, song lyrics, a short story within your story, description of your desk or your stuffed animal mascot, or favorite quotes. Have a character who loves to spout quotes and insert them at random points in the story. Do the characters ignore him or ponder the wisdom? More words!
  7. Go for the Purple Prose. Add as much flowery description as possible. The morning sun didn’t just hit the fence, it¬†caressed it with the passionate and loving touch of a Bond villain petting his Persian as he pondered.¬†

Some of these techniques have even sparked further plot. Don’t discount them as just a cheat. Freewriting in itself is invaluable for simply breaking through a writer’s block.

Now for that simple trick – Find and Replace. For the names, use Find and Replace make
every¬†Freddie¬†become¬†Overpaid Desk Jockey Overlord Fredric Michael Benjamin Lane Peterson. So much easier than scrolling through. Use it for the deconstructed contractions too. Find¬†won’t, replace with¬†will not.¬†Find and Replace does the tedious work and you’ve just doubled your word count. Okay, maybe not doubled but given it a good boost. You can do it with the insults too. Come up with a list for each expletive and use Find/Replace.

I think you get the idea and I’m betting that’ll add a good chunk to your project and get you to the Winner’s Circle, a.k.a.¬†The Illustrious Winner’s Circle of Creative and Powerful Wordacity. ūüėȬ†

Happy writing and on to victory! Writing_Poster.jpg.scaled500


Camp NaNoWriMo – July 2016

Camp is a fun and relaxed opportunity to build the writing habit and to mold it around our chaotic, northern hemisphere, summer lives. You can pick your own goal, as low as thirty words for the entire month!

This month we’re camping by the sea. We’ll enjoy a few oceanic excursions as we write like mad to achieve our summer writing goals.

Our characters will swim with the sharks, get distracted by sirens, maybe even “sleep wit’ da’ fishes” among other things.

Okay, you probably already know this, it’ll just be ocean theme stickers and blog posts. ūüėČ

Catch a wave of inspiration and stay in the curl of literary productivity.

See you on the beach.

Ponderous Plotting continued

Sheesh! I had no idea you plotters are so meticulous.notepad

I got the point in the workbook that talks about making your characters and planning out your story ideas. WOW! How do you even know? How do you make them up? Just freewrite? As a pantser they just come to me. No joke. I’ll start November first with something like “Vanessa sighed.” and go from there. Already I have a character named Vanessa. I can see her. She has dark hair down past her shoulders some of it is pulled back from her face while the rest hangs loose down her back. She’s leaning on her hand on a table. Do you know what comes next? I don’t. I just watch Vanessa and see what she does. Oh, she’s reaching for her cup of coffee. No, sorry, I see it’s a latte with a fancy leaf pattern from the pour. She doesn’t care though. She’s sad. I’m compelled to keep writing to find out why.

I understand that I’m a square peg trying to fit in a round hole doing this plotting thing. (Or maybe a round peg trying to fit in square hole. Ah, who am I kidding. I’m a dodecogon trying to fit into an icosagon shaped hole. None of us are common enough to be square or round.) I feel like a sedentary person (mostly am) going to an advance yoga class and being set to some impossible pretzel twisting knot of a pose. Whew.

screaming-146426__180It’s annoying. But I know if I’m annoyed I’m challenged. And if I’m challenged I’m doing something good for me. (Yes, I have learned to like Brussels sprouts but I still hate cooked carrots.) My brain is growing and stretching. I might not make it into that twisting pretzel knot pose but I’ve gotten closer than I ever would have without trying and while I’ll be sore tomorrow, my body will be stronger and more flexible for it. And thus, my mind will be stronger and more flexible for plotting.

Try doing the opposite of what you normally do at least once (I don’t recommend this for a word war, though). See what you get. You might not get a whole novel but you might get something that plays a roll in your next project.Popeye1

I’m going to keep going with the workbook but November first is likely to see me pantsing. I am what I am.

Make sure that you have RSVPed for the KO/Midnight WI. We hope to see you there. Those first few words at midnight are pretty cool. After that we’re off like a shot. check the calendar frequently for write-ins and changes.

The Ponderous Path to Plotdom

A few years ago I found copies of Ready, Set, Novel by Chris Baty, Lindsey Grant, And Tavia Stewart-StreitReady, Set, Novel! by Chris Baty, Lindsey Grant, And Tavia Stewart-Streit

(the illustrious heroes of the sacred halls of NaNoWriMo.org). This book has sat in a drawer because, well, I’m a happy pantser. This is how I work. I’ve mentioned this before (feel free to check out a previous post The Eternal Question). It is an absolute joy to write this way. The shocked gasp when my plots go all wibbly wobbly certainly amuses anyone around me. Thus this workbook has sat.

Recently NaNo put on a NaNoPrep webinar with four writers. Jonathan Maberry (YA horror and freelance comic book work among other things) mentioned that he uses Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass as a starting point for every one of his novels.

by Donald MaassI wandered to to Barnes and Noble this morning to take a look at¬†Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook and found it was $20. Not too bad as an investment if you’re going to plot but it wasn’t in my budget this morning. And then I remembered the tome entombed in my drawer, long forgotten. I hurried home and dug out¬†the¬†Ready, Set, Novel¬†workbook. What better way to start plotting for NaNo than with an officially official NaNo workbook.

The first activity is to get you used to marking up the book. There is a huge square and you have to fill it. Anything goes. Brilliant. A way to get you into the “write in this book” mindset and get random garbage out of your head, or put some inspiring quote on the page surrounded by some fancy doodling.

I’m really going to put out the effort to do this year’s NaNo this way. And I do mean a lot of effort. This is so out of my skill set. I just found the “What-if” Activity. Sheesh. My brain doesn’t work that way. I’m analytical. I have a hard time what-iffing things I don’t want to happen and things that are simply improbable if not impossible. Yikes! At least that’s followed by some internet sites that will spark some ideas.panic-149063__180

I’ll keep you posted and let you know if I freak out and abandon the Plotter Path to return to my Pantser
Predilection. Plus, I’ll let you know how the book is as a whole.


Also, a reminder if you’re in the Spokane region to RSVP in the Kick-off/Midnight Write-In thread if you haven’t already.

Kick Off and Midnight Write-in

partyIt’s two, two, two events in one!

Come to the Kick-Off Party, October 31st at 10:00 pm, and stay for the Midnight Write on November 1st until 1:00 am. (See our NaNo regional page for details.)

Be sure to visit and get your KO only goodies! Then stay and get your first words done!

Please RSVP on the regional page and let us know you’ll be there. We’d hate to run out of awesome KO goodies.

See you there (costumes welcome)!

Taps – CampNaNoWriMo July 2015


Another camp over.
We wrote, edited, plotted and outlined.
Words were added, others delete.
At times it was exhilarating, other times it was gruesome, still other times it was tedious.
It’s a process. That’s how it goes.
Glory in it!
Revel in it!
Embrace it.
It is what it is.
And what it is is the very best of you.
You ARE a writer.



You know, the funny thing is, I like research. Or at least I used to.

Remember books? I remember getting an idea and heading to the library to Research (at this point in my ideamonologue, “Research” and other seemingly random capitalized words are to be sung accompanied by an angel orchestra – the assumption they’d be more skilled than 5th graders). I would dig through the card catalog (remember how that smelled? ancient wood and paper) and find Books and then hunt down the necessary Encyclopedias (remember the smell of those? Decades old, musty paper -sigh). (Make sure your singing those random capitalized words.)

It was a Glorious Quest to find the information that allowed you too expound on whatever topic your instructor required.

Glorious. (Hushed, reverent tones)

Now we have Teh Interwebz (intentional cheezeburger misspelling and spoiler alert).

You know what I’m talking about, I know you do. You can pretend to be all focus-y and business-y around other people but I know. We are not so different, you and I. (Um, am I starting to sound strangely villain-y? That’s troubling. I’d better put down my big fluffy cat.)

Where was I? Oh yes.

With the internet we have the collected knowledge of the world and a whole lot of collected opinion posing as knowledge. (Plus random weirdos posting random rants and rambles in blogs – What? – Ugh! No! Not me. I’m knowledge, I swear. – Fine, attempted entertainment. Sheesh.) We can wade through that stuff though. If we get enough info from good enough sources we can find what was and was not true about Owain Gwynedd, king of Wales (early to mid 12th century) for that historical novel or just what happens to our human bodies when exposed to the vacuum of space for 2 seconds for our sci-fi endeavour.

Which brings me to the second problem. The internet is a wild ride. Say for instance I look up the physics of what does happen to a body in space (turns out it’s not that horrific and quite survivable even after a minute). Oooo! A wild catvideo about black holes! Huh, the brontosaurus is now found to be the juvenile of the apatosaurus. ROFL Those cats are having a light saber battle! Wow! In 1962, the moon, sun and closest 6 planets all aligned within 17 degrees (which is about as good as conjunctions get) along with a solar eclipse and there were no related catastrophes. Oh, we’ve sent jelly fish to space to see how their progeny would handle gravity when they come back. Okay, Duncan Donuts has adopted shark week. That’s weird. Oh, probably sponsoring, funny. There’s a whole page and stuff dedicated to “take a bite, take a pic.” I’m not sure how I feel about that. Hey, Discovery Network. Whoa, dude! That car was obliterated. I love Mythbusters.

Wait. Where was I? What was I doing?

You get it. Hours later you remember you were doing Research and then it starts all over, thus the prefix Re-.

Yes, that is part of the fun now. Maybe in your wanderings you’ll be inspired for a new story or you’ll finally find a way to get that Turkey grease stain out of your favorite sweatshirt (I miss that shirt).

I guess it’s not really that different. I remember getting sucked into books near my target at the library.

I guess the whole point is find good resources, take good notes (remember to right down your sources so you can go straight to blue jellythem in the future), and enjoy the journey. You never know when inspiration may strike. I totally want to do a piece that includes those gravitationally confused jelly fish.