Word Count Tricks & Useful Links

So. It’s the 25th of November. Word count should be: 41,667.

Are you there?
…..No? Alright. I’ve got something for you.

Time for a few more word count tricks:

  • All your compound words. Take them apart.
  • Introduce a stupid character who needs to have everything explained, twice.
  • Have your characters play a game. (I personally like UNO or monopoly.)
  • Have romantic undertones? Put the lovebirds in a room with no witnesses, see what ensues.
  • Introduce a disaster to the plot.
  • Find a word crawl that you have an interest in. (the Harry Potter ones are amazing, MLHGL writes star trek ones, there’s even a Hamilton crawl already.)


Now, those useful links:

If you’re behind, the first one is all for you, and know that we suggest it in person every time someone starts freaking out about their word counts or their ability to word war if they’re on their own.

Write or Die – The most intense writing motivator program ever – there’s even a mode that will erase your words if you don’t go fast enough.

24 Quotes about Writing – From Robert Frost to Joss Whedon, some inspirational quotes about writing to get you going.

World Building Guide – An anthology of links on how to build your fictional world

‘Seductive’ Writing Tips – How to draw readers in to what you write. Not just for noveling.

Useful Links & Word Count Tricks

WOOHOO! You’ve made it through the fist 7 days of NaNoWriMo and you’re going strong. As of last night, you need to be at approximately 11,669 words. Today’s goal is 13,336 words.

Are you not near 12,000 words? It’s okay. I promise. I’m here to bring you some word count tricks and more useful links today.


Written? Kitten! – You know what’s good? Kitties. Or puppies and bunnies. They help when you’re writing. Just think about that for a minute. Little fluffy animals! Especially virtual ones that won’t lay on your laptop and/or hands while you’re trying to be productive. You can set your own goals and get a kitten however frequently you’d like.

Character Questionnaire – An easy form to use for when you want to get to know your characters

She’s Novel – blog with lots and lots of good information about writing. Some posts include information about world building, writing every day, and overcoming your doubts.

Creative Writing Tips – Some tips for novelists with other articles.

Word Count Trick:

Probably the oldest word count trick in the book is to not use contractions. It’s actually a pretty useful trick to also make you actually look at the words when you’re editing later. Why? Because the words read so stiffly when there are no contractions. You pause in certain places differently when the contraction is there versus when it isn’t. Take for example these two sentences:

“It isn’t something you’re going to want to know.”  (9 words)
“It is not something you are going to want to know.” (11 words)

The first sentence reads pretty smoothly. The second sentence has a built in stressed word where your brain might bring your reading eyes to a temporary stop. It’s going to catch your eye because your brain is almost certainly not used to reading all the words that usually are folded into contractions.

So, It Begins…


NANOWRIMO has begun. (well, if this post goes up when it’s supposed to, NaNoWriMo began something like 10 hours ago.)

MLHGL pretty much expects to already have the daily word count goal accomplished by this point in time. However, MLHGL is also aiming a lot higher than the daily word count goal for NaNoWriMo this year, so she’s still got a ways to go.

Remember that MLkitkatt will be sending out the regular peptalks from the NaNoWriMo website itself, and to check your emails as well as log into the forums to hang out with fellow writers.

MLHGL also brings you a gift of three extremely useful links, for those of you that haven’t decided what to write or are having some trouble naming things:

Seventh Sanctum – randomly generate all the things! (No seriously, there’s basically a generator for everything here. It’s fantastic.)

Fantasy Name Generators – Not just for fantasy names! They have generators on here for just about anything you need to name. Vulcans? Check. Metals/elements? Check. Amusement parks? Those too!

The Sarcastic Muses – prompts for days! (No, really, they post tons of them)

NaNo2016 – Research!

Research – probably the only thing more distracting than the general internet for authors. Why? Because most authors I know love to learn, and research is self-guided learning. The only other thing more distracting is social media (currently included in the “general internet”), and we all know that we probably have a problem with being distracted with social media. Find a seat and kick back with a notepad, MLHGL is here to talk research!

So, if you’re here before November 1st, you’re probably doing a great deal of planning in advance of NaNoWriMo (and are probably a planner, which MLHGL is not). You’re doing research. You’re getting your information together so that you don’t get things too terribly unbelievable in the first draft. Though, I will admit, once I’ve written a couple thousand words, I have enough of an idea about my plot to know a few points I should research and that’s always a good thing.

If it’s during November when you’ve come to visit this page, well, you’re probably wanting to make sure that you either do or do not need to do some research. If you’re asking that question, then yes, you probably do need to do the research.
Reasons why research is a good idea:

  • Knowing what kind of weapons your characters might use!
  • What kind of food is realistic?
  • How long, on horseback, from point a to point b?
  • What colors of clothing they might wear?
  • Were there windows in the castle, or arrow slits?
  • Would XYZ type of lifeform be able to easily survive in ABC sort of climate?
  • What star system is closest to earth’s?
  • Is there a Walgreens or Starbucks on that corner?
  • Is the coffee shop crowded or deserted at 2 in the afternoon?
  • How large is the fallout zone of a nuclear blast?
  • Pants, skirts or kilts?

There are many, many things that just a little bit of research can help you with that would make your story that much more realistic.

Some of these questions can be answered by books, some by the internet, and sometimes you need to just ask your crowd of fellow Wrimos if anyone might know the answer to that question. Google StreetView is an amazing tool too.

ML_HGL will be offering easy access to a book called “How to Find Out Anything” any time she’s around – which can help you figure out how to word your search terms for maximum results.

I’m going to point out something here though: If you aren’t in a position to give to National Novel Writing Month, and would like to know of a way to donate anyways, use GoodSearch – register for an account with them or use your facebook account to log in and choose NaNoWriMo as the cause you’d like to donate to. Each year, NaNoWriMo receives between $2,000 and $6,000 as a result of GoodSearch’s offers and from those wrimos who use the service. GoodSearch gives a penny for every search done with their service, it adds up.

Generally, during NaNoWriMo itself – I will usually use GoodSearch myself for everything. (ML_HGL)

Research Tips

Research – probably the only thing more distracting than the internet for authors. Why? Because most authors I know love to learn, and research is self-guided learning. The only other thing more distracting is social media, but today, I’m counting that as a part of the generalized term for internet. Stick around and have a read, ML_HGL is talking research with you today!

Read more “Research Tips”