NaNoWriMo 2022: Five (Unexpected) Ways to Increase Your Word Count

How’s your word count looking as we round into the final week of NaNoWriMo? Is it a little lower than you’d like? Here are five unexpected (and fun) ways to increase your word count to help you reach your 50,000 word goal. 


Tarot Cards

Of course, this is my number 1 thing to grab when I need to up my word count. Choose your favorite deck, give it a shuffle and flip over 1-3 cards. Then just start describing the cards – starting with things like:

  • What is the figure doing?
  • What are they wearing?
  • What action are they taking? Or not taking?
  • What’s happening in the background?
  • What’s happening in the foreground?

Now, challenge yourself to use these aspects in the scene you are writing. For example, you pull a knight card and the figure is on a horse.  Can you add horseback riding to the chapter you are writing? Can you have your main character find a horse? To see more examples, make sure you watch the YouTube video below, I pulled two cards from the Modern Witch Tarot deck and had some fun figuring out what I could add to a story.


Describe all the things

If I sit down to write, and have no idea how to start, I spend anywhere between 200-500 words describing the room that my characters are in. I’ll start with things like curtains, couches or other furniture, how the room smells, the temperature, and then move on to how the characters themselves are dressed.  If I’m still stuck, I’ll finally move on to how the characters are feeling about the story so far, and how they’re feeling about each other.  Usually at this point, I’m off and running with new ideas for what to write. 


Use all 5 senses

In a similar vein, I will write down various ways to use the five senses on a piece of paper.  Say, losing one’s glasses for sight or having them find a new pair of sunglasses. For sound, they could be listening to the news or dealing with construction noise that makes it hard to concentrate.  Then once I have my list, I’ll randomly choose one from each category and challenge myself to include those in the scene or chapter that I’m writing.  You can also do this with feelings, body parts, actions, locations.  Come up with the category types, fill in the blanks, randomly choose, and get to writing.  It becomes a fun game that you play with yourself.



Element of surprise

Grab your favorite, or closest book, and flip open to a random page.  Read and find a piece of dialogue and challenge yourself to use that dialogue in your book and make it make sense.  You can do this with other elements on the page, random description or just any line – regardless of what type it is.  You can also do this with your playlist, the first song that comes on, look up the lyrics and choose one line to add to your own novel.  You can do this every time the songs change too…which is harder, but more fun!


Lean into your character’s obsessions

What is one thing that your main character is really into? Spend 10 minutes researching the thing, sport, activity, song, book, TV show, etc. – and Wikipedia totally works for this, it isn’t school – and then try to use all that information in the scene you are writing. For example, the main character of my NaNoWriMo novel is into swimming, so I could look up info about chlorine, types of strokes, who won various Olympic swim meets, and then have her info dump to someone else all the information.  Want even more words? Have your character talk to someone who’s on the opposite side and let them argue.  So say your main character is into video games and the other character hates video games – let them fight it out for a while. You get character development, some fun dialogue, and extra words.  It’s a win-win!

So those were five unexpected ways to increase your word count, while having some fun writing. Which one was your favorite? Which one are you going to try this week? Let me know in the comments below and I hope you’ve enjoyed NaNoWriMo this year, and that you can finish strong!

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