On Expanding Word Counts (Part 2)

Last week, I blogged about how I'm trying to beef up the word count in my current work-in-progress (a YA novel called The Dreamon). Since then, I've had some pretty exciting new developments, and I'm glad to say that I'm fast approaching my 40,000-word target.

The main strategy which I'm employing in order to expand my novel is simply to make more stuff happen. But the key here is to make stuff happen in parts where things aren't very exciting. Whenever I see a part where the action is sparse, and there is a potential to have more things happen (a new obstacle, for example), I add to it. Whenever I see a part which is tight and flows smoothly as it is, I leave it alone. By doing this, I'm not only expanding my word count, but I'm also making the novel stronger by fleshing it out more.

Another thing I've been doing is editing the description in certain areas, being sure to 'tell' less and 'show' more. For example, there's a part which I worked on yesterday, which originally said something like:

My day at school was pretty terrible. I didn't get a single math problem right, my coach yelled at me during netball practice for not focusing, and I flunked a pop quiz in History.

That's two lines, covering a whole day. Talk about telling instead of showing! How about ....

The first lesson of the day was Math. I'm usually pretty good at math, even though I don't like it very much, but this time I didn't get a single problem right. Fortunately, Ms Granville was pretty accommodating, and she acted like it was no big deal. 
My netball coach was a different story. I missed several easy passes, and the hall rang with shouts of, “Nightingale! Get your head in the game!” “Nightingale! Focus!” “Nightingale! Go over there and give me ten sit-ups!” “Nightingale! Can't you do anything right?” (...)

See what I mean? That's already 56 more words, and I haven't even mentioned the History pop quiz yet!

There was one more tactic I used to flesh out my novel, and that was adding ... wait for it ... a romantic subplot! Not a conventional romantic subplot, and not one that ends happily ever after, either ... but that's a story for another time.

So what's my word count tally as of right now? According to my word processor, it's 37,636. That's up from about 29,000 at the end of the second draft, so that's not bad. I'm on the home stretch now! Watch this space.

I copied and pasted the current draft of The Dreamon into a
word cloud generator and this is what came out. I just thought
it looked kind of cool :)

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