This quick post is to give some ideas for wordcount boosters for Nanowrimo-which will, I hope, make it into in your finished novel as worldbuilding or character reveal scenes. I have used each of these and found they are generally good for an extra 1000 words or so. These seven ideas should give you at least an extra 7000 words for your Nano-novel and are especially useful for those writing in the fantasy genre, although they can be applied to any story. Good luck!
- Engage in a drinking game. Describe the game, its rules, the forfeits and how each character participates. This is good for sneaking in some clumsy how-the-world-works information, in the fantasy genre.
- Discover a children’s book. If it contains a fairy tale or the creation myth for your fantasy world, so much the better. Have your characters comment on it scornfully or nostalgically, and at length. If you’re really desperate for words, have them read out a handy myth which feeds into your plot.
- Check a calendar. This allows you to confirm the name and sequence of days of the week, months and seasons. It can also show any significant festival dates where, later on, your hero finds himself in peril, or able to demonstrate his secret powers in front of a captive audience.
- Visit a pub or tavern. Give it a name, a history, an distinctive appearance, and a location. Street corner or market square? Alley, halfway up some steps, or in the middle of a habitable bridge? What do your characters eat or drink and what pub characters do they meet? You can stretch this one out for ages.
- Visit a school. There is rich word count boosting to be found in exploring the education system, showing how girls and boys (or other creatures) are prepared for the wider world. When you include playground games, punishments, exams or mealtimes, this could be a great way to expose more information about your world and/or your characters’ backstory.
- Have dinner. Charles Dickens spent a lot of time describing the food prepared and eaten by his characters – it gives great texture for his imaginary world, and takes up a lot of words. What regular meals do people of your world eat throughout the day? Are certain things forbidden, or forbidden to certain groups – women, children, certain faiths or races-? Is eating communal, or something to be done in shame, alone? Mealtime scenes also make great foreplay scenes, with all the dinner juices running down chins and being licked from sticky fingers. Just saying.
- Go dancing. What are the popular dances in your world and what kind of music are they set to? Is dancing a courtship ritual, a social affirmation, or a way to confirm some other life stage? Who is allowed to dance, who is forbidden? Are there certain moves which are banned from polite society, like Elvis and his hip gyrations? Why is that? Has your main character experienced great dancing and terrible dancing? Even at surface level, a dancing scene is a great opportunity to describe in word-count-boosting detail what everyone is wearing and who dances with who and why.
If you have some favourite ways to boost wordcount during Nanowrimo, please share them in the comments!
My main Nanowrimo page of resources
Charles Dickens- Great Expectations has some fantastic eating scenes. So does Nicholas Nickelby.
Visit a pub with Seventh Sanctum’s Tavern Name Generator
For sexy words over your mealtimes, try Stacia Kane’s book