Thursday, 20 September 2012

Amazing Writing Advice #16: Getting The Word Count Right

Earlier this week a well respected agent mentioned a manuscript with a paltry word count of 313,455. Why so low, people? You need to get that word count up! There's a simple formula all publishers use when choosing a book:

Words == ££££££

You need to make sure you're manuscript is as long as possible. Now here are some tricks of the trade:

  1. Move any scene with dialogue into a big cave. Words echo, and echo words count too. Also the echoes make sentences more dramatic. Example, "Where's the tin opener? opener? pener? ener?" I've nearly doubled the word count of that sentence there and it sent more than a shiver down my spine!
  2. Give characters large objects to move. Then punctuate the conversation with "To me." and To you." This can last for hours. Trust me, I've seen it on TV.
  3. Have characters put together furniture (fits in well with the above). One character can then read out the instructions. If you really need to bump it up, have them put together a nuclear power plant.
  4. Make characters drive somewhere, have them play i-spy.
  5. Make one of the characters a teenage girl. They never shut up.
  6. Have one of the characters read another book. Paste that book into your book.
  7. Have them go to a nightclub. Include all the words from the songs playing.
  8. DESCRIBE EVERYTHING!
  9. Set it in the future where everyone has a binary name. One zero one one zero one one one looked at zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero one, "I'm stuck on you, Zeroie, like a robot stuck on a magnet." 
  10. Set it in a time loop like one of those bad Star Trek episodes. Repeat the first 50,000 words again and again until the robot realises what's going on.
Soon you'll have the minimum 500k to make your manuscript a must have for every editor in the business.

Cheers,

Mark