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. 😀

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. ThomasDonna 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. 😉 

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. 😉

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.



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.

To Journal or Not to Journal Part 2

Below is really difficult to share but I realize that those of you who know me celebratewill laugh with me and those who don’t will get to know me. So here it goes. 😉 😀

Do you remember a couple of months ago in Part 1 I mentioned that I’d tell you a journaling experience. I really struggled about putting this much of me out there for the world to see but if I can help one of you, it’s worth it (so they say LOL).

This is it.

I, like many writerly and in general, artsy sorts, have doubts. I doubt my skills, my passion, my characters, my stories.panic Fighting with Doubt, trying to dodge Doubt, is exhausting. The journaling class suggests having a dialog with something that blocks you. I chose to confront That Darn Doubt.

Ah, the awkward conversation with someone you’re angry with and/or don’t trust. It started on my part with forced courtesy. I viewed Doubt as my enemy: it was in my way. Doubt’s whole attitude was friendly, helpful, casual even. Seriously?! What was up with that? Doubt had some nerve being all buddy-buddy when it worked so hard at derailing me as a published author.

It turns out, I hadn’t given Doubt enough credit. I thought I was asking hard hitting questions, things that would make it curl up in the fetal position and begging for mercy. Instead, I think it really wondered why I was asking such easy questions.

Doubt had been making me think. It brought up questions about any idea, new or old and made me analyze. Doubt had been doing its job. Doubt was awesome. We hugged it out but I still had this block, so I asked Doubt what it thought the problem was. It asked me leading questions (I think it knew but felt I should work it out on my own). I got to thinking that Faith and Doubt counterbalance. Faith must be the one I needed to talk with.

I thanked Doubt, my partner in intelligent analysis and went wandering my head looking for whipFaith. I had words for her.

Me: “Hmm, I can’t find her anywhere.”
Doubt: “Did you check the back closet?”
Me: “What? Faith is front office stuff. Why would she be in the back closet?”
Doubt (shrugs with a wink to the camera): “No idea, maybe she’s organizing.”
Me (shake my head): “We don’t organize, but I’ll look anyway.” (Kicks the stuff that’s accumulated in front of the back closet and looks around) “I don’t see anythi- wait a minute. What’s this? (I pick up a small 5 inch cube box from the back left corner and open it) “WHAT?!”
My exclamation as a 5’6″ blond takes my proffered hand and blossoms out of this 5 in cube seems to amuse Doubt. (It’s doubled over guffawing.)
Faith (smiling warmly and still holding my hand): “Whew, thank you for letting me out of there. Nice to be back to work.”
Me: “What? Why? Huh?”

It turns out that I felt she had failed me – something to do with ridiculous expectations – and I had shoved the poor thing into this box as far out of my way as possible.

So now you see my weirdness. (Bet you find some weird stuff in your head too, by the way, so no judgement.)journal

Take about 15 minutes or so and have a little dialogue with your blocks and gremlins and see where it takes you. You might be surprised what you find.

Your Story, My Story, Our Stories

“Writing is something you do alone. It’s a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don’t want to make introverts_smalltalkeye contact while doing it.”
John Green Thoughts from Places: The Tour

I saw this quote and had to share it somewhere. This seemed the best blog post for it.

I think many of us writers are introverts. And that’s a good thing. Never let anyone tell you any different. We are needed and we have our own important things to say. Without someone interrupting. Because sometimes we all are overly courteous and allow other people to voice their opinions over ours.

But our words are just as important.

Every one of YOUR words is important.

April and July are about getting out there and keeping the habit going. Writing daily is harder than it seems, especially in the brutal heat of our July so far. If you have the habit started in November of writing your 1667 or more words a day then way to go and keep up the great work. For the rest of us, let’s not overdo it.

The lowest goal we can set for CampNaNoWriMo is 10,000 and it’s not a bad goal. Start small, even if you beat your April goal, even if you know you can do 50,000.  It gets hot out there in July and it’s hard to think (and in our family there are a million birthdays, so we have family get-togethers constantly). If you exceed your expectations, you can always do more and raise your goal. July is a great month to enable yourself. Make your goal realistic and attainable then adjust as necessary. You can push yourself in November.umbrella-691229_640

Most important, be careful composing in the sun. Umbrellas are great shade and make you look pretty classy.

Though if you have an umbrella, people will probably try to move into it with you. So be careful of that too.

While we’re chatting (hahaha Okay, I’m chatting), Make sure you check out the sponsor offers at Camp  http://campnanowrimo.org/sponsor-offers

Happy writing. 😀

POV, Flash Fiction, and Honing Your Craft

(aka-One topic was too short so I added stuff)

We are given the option as creative beings to write from any POV (point of view), um, excuse me, any POV as long as there’s only one per scene and it’s not ours. In other words. First person is fine (from the character’s POV), and third person limited is fine. No omniscient. In spite of the fact that we as the writer and creator of the story knows all and sees all that goes on with our characters, we’re not allowed to write it.

I remember through grade school that omniscient was okay. Apparently omniscient is one of those childish things that we’re supposed to put off when we’re grown, like giggling at bodily functions and sticking out our tongues. 😛 What-ever. I intend to giggle until my dying breath.

So being a good lemming – okay, I’ll admit it, a lemming who wants to sell – I changed POV to third-person limited.

Darn it! It turns out they’re right. One POV per scene is working so much better. Cleaner, tighter. And Head hopping confusion yes, less confusing.There are solid reasons for this. “Head-hopping” as it’s been called can be leave the reader uncertain as to whose head their in during any given conversation or action. We may think that we’re giving them the information they need but chances are what was in our head didn’t fully translate to paper.

The best thing is that it’s become a puzzle and word game for me. How can I turn this conversation between estranged sisters into a compelling scene from only one sister’s view? Cut, cut, reword, cut.  Ah-ha!

I’m not saying it gets easier to rewrite but, I do know now that I’m aware of it, I’ll be writing better. That means less rewriting. 😀 And that is a very good thing.

A great way to practice this is Flash Fiction. Now Flash Fiction is a full story (beginning, middle, end) written in 100-1000 words depending on who you ask. A great goal is midway, 500 words. (Mine tend to be around 600-700.) This is a great opportunity to work on POV and also to work on word choice. You have to get rid of all of the extraneous words such as adverbs and excessive adjectives and the extra “ands” and extra “thats”. (See what I did there.)

Check out Holly Lisle’s Flash Fiction that Doesn’t Suck (clickable link and the class is free). She has a great program to help. I mentioned this program before in The Eternal Question post and how I have to work it. Try it out when you have a bit of time. It doesn’t take much.

Doing these Flash Fiction pieces can really help develop some great writing skills; brevity, precision and POV.

Have you tried Flash Fiction? Give it a shot and work to make a full story with clear point of view for each scene (if there’s more than one) and very concise words.

Good luck.

Write Now Prompt for March 31, 2015

Last day before Camp! Get those fingers moving with Write Now’s prompt.

Today's Author


At Today’s Author, our first goal is to get you (and us) to write. Write Now is our own collection of prompts to help you do that. With Write Now we’re not talking about writing, or trying to teach anyone how to write. Write Now is all about putting pen to paper.

Today’s Prompt:

Everyone assumed it was just another one of his crazy April Fool’s Day pranks.


How to play along with our Writing Prompts

  1. Write in any format or style you wish: short story, poem, script – whatever you like.
  2. Write for at least 5 minutes. There is no time limit – write for as long as you wish!
  3. Editing is not required, though we do recommend that you run a spell check at least.
  4. Post your work to your blog and include a link back here so your readers can find other writer’s work, too.
  5. Come back…

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