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


Off To Camp – July 2015 CampNaNoWriMo

(aka Campy Campy Camp Camp)

And so we meet again. Me, the de facto camp counselor and you, the intrepid Warm Weather Warriors of cabin-768716_640Wordsmithiness (I can’t help it, I LOVE unnecessary alliteration [I wanted to go with gratuitous but it didn’t alliterate as nicely]).

As we step forth and prepare for another month of crazed creativity it’s good to look back at our past.

What did we learn in April? Did we exceed our expectations or did we expect too much? Did we find brilliant ways to express our story or were we frustrated with limiting words?

Did we fly? Or did we fall?

Allow me to answer that for you (trust me, I’m a¬† professional*).

You flew!¬†(Does flew look weird to anyone else? It’s right, I checked. Okay, moving on…)

YOU FLEW! I know you don’t think you did, but you did! You FLEW like a crazy Bird of Words. Remember, if you added anything at all, you did something. And something really and truthfully is better than nothing. It’s not just an overused saying. And seriously, I’m not just saying this to placate, enable, or patronize you.

YOU flew.FlashBuddy bald-eagle-521492_640

Writing is surprisingly difficult. Do you know how many stories have wandered through my head that were never written down? (You probably do, you’ve had them too.) So you know how hard it is to put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, thumbs to phone. And then, if you manage that, you sit and tap your fingers, not writing, just tapping a surface, all words having fled the mind. Frustrated, you slap your hands on the table and get up and actually clean the house (we all do it, my house is never tidy, but in November things get put away – it’s weird). You stalk to the kitchen to do dishes or eat your frustrations (disguised as Oreos and Cheetos) then pace back to your chair.

Eventually you start with anything that pops in to your head (it might be the Cheetos/Oreos combination talking, but go with it).

A sentence or two is written. You’ve done it! It flows.

People who don’t write do not get it. They assume it’s so easy. How hard can it be? they mock. But they don’t know. They don’t understand how hard it is. You pour yourself out and hope that someone loves it as much as you.ClkerFreeVectorImages proud figure-25590_640

And you did that. You boldly got those words out of your head.

I’m so proud of you. :’-D

So as we move into July’s camp just remember

If you flew once, you can do it again. ūüėÄ

*Hehehe A professional what? (Okay,¬†I am actually a Life/Nutrition Coach among other things. I’m sure this falls under the life coaching aspect.)

Whoooooo Aaaaarrrre Yoooouuuu?


(Yes, Cheshire cat is Horrifying but I had to credit the quote, my title. And this one was less frightening than the others.)

Sit down.
You heard me, sit.
I’ve got startling news for you, and you’re going to wish you were sitting if you don’t.

Okay, now take a deep breath.
No, deeper than that.
Come on, suck that oxygen in, cuz you’re going to need it for your brain to take in what I’m about to say.
Now take two more.

YOU are a writer.
Oh yeah, that’s right. I’ll say it again in a little different way.
You ARE a writer.
Once more.
You are a WRITER.

Are you with me so far?
I know the doubt. I’ve had it too. It comes about, slinking in when you’re not looking, like the neighbor cat. It curls up on the rug in front of your mental fireplace and you think “How cute.” Then when you’re not looking it scratches the furniture, shreds your certainty. Darn neighbor cat.

Okay, You and I, writers.
You know what convinced me?
A quote that I can’t find. I looked. I found some other, wonderful and inspiring quotes but not the one I was looking for. Ah, the internet Rabbit Hole and the difficulty of modern research. LOL

Take this one instead

. Real Writer

Got it? Do you see what I’m saying now?

You are a writer. ūüėÄ Now WRITE! (or edit if that’s what you’re doing for CampNaNoWrimo.)

Remember, if you are doing CampNaNoWriMo.org this April, nanomail Pacifika and ask for an invitation to our local SpokaNano cabin. See you all at the lake.

To Journal or not to Journal Part 1

journalBlah, blah, blah journal.

That was my view. But I kept hearing that it was really good for the brain and sorting mental and emotional clutter. Basically a big bucket you can dump all of the random garbage that blathers in your head. (Or am I the only one with that problem?)

And of course it’s “so important” for writers, so I decided to try.

You’d think it would be intuitive but I need to know what the rules are before I do something so I got online and took a class*.

I was surprised that there are a lot of different types of journaling and different exercises. It’s not just “sit down, bare your soul on paper, hope no one reads it.” You can do a Gratitude Journal (useful for accentuating the positive in your life), lists (great for clarifying), unsent letters (excellent way of giving your older siblings “what for” without hurting their feelings or getting your butt kicked). There are others and all have different outcomes and uses.

You may have heard of Julia Cameron and her book The Artists Way. (Don’t panic! journalcatYou, as a writer are an artist, but don’t let that stop you. Deep breath. You don’t have to be a hoity-toity “artiste.”) She suggests “morning pages” which is just free writing three pages first thing in the morning. Just babble and that’s it.

I did a technique called “Dialogues” and it was an enlightening experience which I’ll make you sit through in another post. Mwahahaha.

Have you journaled? How long have you done it? Has it helped you quiet the brain and focus?

* Spokane County Library District (scld.org) is partnered with Gale University to give its patrons an astoundingly wide variety of free and awesome classes. Check them out when you have a moment.

Week Three Spectacular!

Fox Socks Box Knox
Knox in Box
Fox in Socks
Knox on fox in socks in box.

Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss

My all time favorite Dr. Seuss book is “Fox in Socks.” Crazy full of weirdness and rhyming. ūüėÄ And a perfect book for our Week Three talk.

At Week Three Dr. Seuss had already dealt with Chicks and Bricks and Blocks and Clocks. He’d taken care of The Goo-Goose chewing new blue goo. He had celebrated Ben’s band, Bim’s band, Big bands, Pig bands. Ah, Week Three is of course when Dr. Seuss would have written:

Through three cheese trees three free fleas flew.
While these fleas flew, freezy breeze blew.
Freezy breeze made these three trees freeze.
Freezy trees made these trees’ cheese freeze.
That’s what made these three free fleas sneeze.

And then, because Seuss was now on a tongue twisting roll, he began:

Very well, then, Mr. Knox, sir.
Let’s have a talk about tweetle beetles…

(The best part!)

In all of the month, Week Three is one of the best! You’ve got your characters fleshed out, your plots are moving. In fact sometimes they start moving really fast. It is¬†hard to keep up! Your characters have¬†their own ideas of what is going on and it doesn’t always mesh with what you planned but it doesn’t matter. You’ve gotten into the swing of things and you’re just madly taking dictation. You know you’ll fix it later.

Week Three is a great time to ride that rollercoaster! At each write-in do word wars. Take breaks and refuel. Get as much down as you possibly can while things are moving.

Write like Mad! For soon your story, like Knox, will say:

Fox in socks, our game is done, sir.
Thank you for a lot of fun, sir.

~ Pacifika aka Patti

We Week Two, do you?

“Shuffle, duffle, muzzle, muff. Fista, wista, mista-cuff. We are men of groans and howls, mystic men who eat boiled owls”.

Bartholomew and the Ooblek by Dr. Seuss

So say the king’s magicians of themselves. They create all manner of havoc when the king asks. Why did he ask? ¬†He was bored with the normal. Bored and needing some inspiration, something new. Just like you in Week Two!

What’s Week Two you ask? It is a miserable time of NaNo. Worse than the Editing Doldrums of December. ¬†(I just trademarked that.) ¬†Your characters flee and hide in corners, refusing to talk to you. Your plot points vanish into thin air. And worst of all – you start thinking that mountain of dirty laundry and dust piles and crusty dishes look enticing! What’s a writer to do??

There are a few thing to snap you out of it and break that rubber band of recurring disaster.

  • First¬†– take it to the threads! Everyone suffers this malady at some point in their NaNo career. Reach out and create a thread if there is isn’t one; if there is, read through it for fabulous ideas on how to make your novel behave and get your mojo back.
  • Second¬†– take a break! Give yourself permission to take a day off and do something fun. Go see a movie, read a book, get a massage, go mall walking. ¬†Replenish your flagging energy so it’s raring to go when you sit back down at the keyboard.
  • Third¬†– if you haven’t already, attend a write-in in person. Being there in person is important to your weary writer brain. Enthusiasm is contagious and where better to find it than at a write-in! Join in the word wars even if you are simply typing “I know nothing.” over and over. Getting those fingers moving will eventually wake up your sleepy muse and she’ll look at your repetitive sentence in horror and give you something better to write.

Whatever you choose, remember the lesson from Bartholomew. Be careful what you wish for; you might just get it!

Missed a few of our ML reports? You can catch up on all our Seuss-ish fun on the Spokane Regional NaNo threads:  Here!

Archery: Hitting the Mark


Here is your bow, over there is the archery range, the counselor announces, pointing. You are giddy with the excitement born from years of pretending to be Robin Hood in the “forest” at the park. You can almost see the Sheriff of Nottingham sniveling at your feet. You can hear the “whiff” of the arrow slicing through the air on its way to the center of the target. You scoff at the idea of being only 15 yards from the bales of hay holding the targets. You scoff at the bales of hay. You’ve been practicing archery for years. It doesn’t matter that it was all in your head, visualization has helped athletes (like you) for years.

bow arrows

You confidently step up to your mark, knock your arrow, draw back and let fly! You lose it as it sails effortlessly toward the bull’s eye. You hear a loud “Yelp!” off to your left and wonder as you stare at you target, what that was about.

You find out soon enough. The bow is taken from your hand and you are led over to some benches by one of the counselors.


“So, what were you thinking?”

“What? I’m really good at archery.”

“Clearly, you are not.” The counselor indicates another counselor who is being laid down on a stretcher with an arrow in his keister and carried off.

“I didn’t do that!?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact, you did.” The counselor looks at his lap. “You’re enthusiasm is admirable but let’s start again.”

hay bail

Three weeks ago we set a target for a word count that we each wanted to reach. Last week we were halfway through the month. Were you at your halfway mark? Were you anywhere near your halfway mark? How about now?

The nice thing is that this month, for Camp NaNo, we can change where the target is up until the end of April 24th. Feel free to move your target. Enjoy and exercise the freedom given to you by our gracious Camp NaNo hosts. Move your target forward if you are nowhere near it. Move it back to challenge yourself if you are near to it.

The nice thing is that this is the last full week of your writing. Your characters are fleshed out, your plot is thick enough. From here it is basically all “downhill”, gravity takes over from here and you will have to work to stop the momentum of your story.

So shoot away at that target. No keisters will be harmed.

archery merit badge