Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Really, Really, Really Great Idea

I’m almost finished with the first draft of my WIP (the sequel to KILLER ROUTINE), and I think I’m going to come up a little short. Like about 8000 words short (that’s somewhere around ten percent).

Here are some ideas I had for increasing the word count:

Add an adjective (or better yet, an adverb) to each sentence.

Use a dialog tag for every piece of dialog (you can never have too many “he said, she saids.”)

More backstory! Especially up-front.

Describe the settings really, really well. Also use “really, really” whenever possible.

Put in more characters sighing, nodding, smiling, and shrugging. Ideally, have one of each on every page! (Of course, limiting these to one instance on every page might actually reduce the length of the manuscript.)

More character ruminations. Ruminations are always good!

Use the word “that" more frequently. You can never get enough of that word.

What say you, blog readers? Any suggestions to add?


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16 comments:

Crystal Clear Proofing said...

I think all of your ideas are ingenious!

Another thing you could do is mention breathing. (As she breathed in she picked up the glass, breathing out as she prepared to take a sip.) Oh! Another good one is blinking! (He was looking out over the breathtaking view when he blinked.)

What do you think? Those may help a some! ;)

Mary said...

Don't forget paused and hesitated.
She paused before dialing the final number.
I hesitated joining this crazy conversation.

Maribeth
Giggles and Guns

Clarissa Draper said...

ha ha ha... that's great. Or you could just add a really interesting chapter and leave all that crap out. Now there's a NOVEL idea.

CD

Levi Montgomery said...

I think you really, really need to combine the third and sixth ideas: wherever you add an adverb, double it! That will totally, totally do the trick!

And/or add a chapter about how the protagonist was captured/abducted by the FBI/CIA/aliens in early, early childhood, and hasn't been really, really the same ever since.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Swear words - when in doubt, add cursing.

Molly Swoboda said...

Reporting the weather and how each character feels about it is a technique!

Terri Bischoff said...

Should I be worried? ;)

Elspeth Antonelli said...

This why dragons are useful. Add a dragon. Maybe add two. Now add fire-proof bananas. And you're off!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Actually, I *do* have some suggestions, because I frequently come up short. :)

I don't like description, so I find I don't use much of it. I'll brainstorm short setting and character description and weave it in through the manuscript.

You can also add a whole subplot. Yup, I've done that.

You can also add a red herring to point to one particular suspect (not too hard to add it at the end of the draft.)

Otherwise, you can really, really use your very, very interesting ideas for tacking on words. :)

Alan Orloff said...

Crystal - Thanks! Breathing is nice. All characters have to breath, right?

Mary - Got a bunch of pauses already. Maybe a few "contemplateds" would work. Although one big word is still just one word. Maybe "thunk hard."

Clarissa - Add an interesting chapter? Are you MAD? And there's nothing novel about my m.s. either.

Levi - Really, really, really good idea, but I've already used aliens in my last few books.

Sue Ann - I tried that but my spellchecker chokes on @#&%$.

Molly - "It was a really, really, really dark and stormy night."

Terri - I thought you liked adverbs and dragons. (To answer your question, you shouldn't be any more worried than I am.)

Elspeth - You are my guru. Dragons (and gnomes) rock!

Elizabeth - Speaking of gnomes...Well, if the above fail, I guess I'll be forced to consider your WILD suggestions. Actually, I'll be beefing up a subplot and adding a few more suspects (and a few thousand words, too).

Jude Hardin said...

When writing dialogue, make sure all your characters refer to each other by name repeatedly."

"Thank you, Bill."

"My pleasure, Ted."

"By the way, Bill, would you happen to have the five hundred dollars I loaned you last month?"

"Gee, Ted, I could use a little more time on that."

"In that case, Bill, allow me to introduce you to my friend Guido..."

Chuck said...

I would suggest having the whole opening sequence be a dream!

Ann Best said...

Ha, ha from me, too. Very clever. I'd go with adding a chapter, or some "really great" scenes!!

cassandrajade said...

You could always add a side plot that just gets interesting and then drop the whole thing. That would certainly kill 8000 words without much difficulty but you may have to deal with readers who demand to know what happened.

Alan Orloff said...

Jude - What an excellent idea, Jude. And, Jude, it's totally non-intrusuve, too. Even better if my characters have two-word names, like Mary Ann, right Jude?

Chuck - Awesome idea, but why limit it to the opening scene? I'll make one character narcoleptic, and he can have dreams throughout!

Ann - You mean "really, really, really great scenes," right, Ann? With dragons and a lot of blinking.

Cassandra - Wait! Are you implying that plots must have endings? In that case, I'll get my 8000 words easily!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

More exposition - pages and pages!