Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month.

From the November issue of The Writer’s Life.

If you’re competing in NaNoWriMo this month, you should be about halfway through your book by now. (November 15th = 25,000 words) But if you haven’t hit the magic number yet, never fear! Here are three tips to help increase your word count:

  1. Write out all contractions. Never write “don’t” or “won’t” when “do not” and “will not” each add an additional word to your total. Sure, it’s a cheap trick, but it boosts your daily totals when every word counts.
  2. Try word sprints. What’s a sprint? Just like in the world of competitive running, word sprints involve timers and moving as quickly as you can. Set an alarm for 10 minutes and see how many words you can rack up. If you need even more encouragement, check Twitter or Facebook groups to find sprinting buddies. Race each other for the highest word count, and keep trying to outdo your writing pals throughout the day.
  3. Name your chapters. Just like in the olden days, when authors like Charles Dickens were paid by the word, they often provided descriptive indicators about what was going to happen in each chapter. You can use this trick to boost your word count, too. Don’t be afraid to get wordy, like “Chapter the Third, In Which Our Hero Discovers An Empty Well, Falls Into Said Well, And Tries Desperately to Escape His Predicament.”