Thursday, 10 October 2019

Fattening your first draft Part 2

The next instalment of my 101 tips, tricks and complete cheats to increase your word count. (To read the earlier ones just click on 'fattening 1st draft' below this post.)

11. Never cut and paste. Instead copy and paste.

12. Describe everything. It's not a mug of coffee. It's a white china mug decorated with a profusion of red roses, full to the brim with decaf instant, a splash of milk and three sugars.

13. Give details. Don't just have characters read a book but inform your readers that it's a hardback, though not a first edition, of The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared.

14. Mention the author.

15. And the cover design.

16. And where it was purchased.

17. If you can do it without breaching copyright, get your character to read sections aloud.

18. Be precise in your locations. Why write 'they met in the street' when you could put 'they met in the High Street of Lee-on-the-Solent, right outside the butchers, which is opposite the opticians'?

19. Don't use hyphens. Make all compounds into separate words.

If you're starting to think following this advice will give you a pretty rubbish story, you're totally wrong. It'll give you a pretty rubbish first draft! That's good though as first drafts aren't supposed to be the finished thing, they're just the first stage in creating something people will want to read. If you're interested in everything between getting the initial idea to collecting the cash, then I suggest reading the rather excellent From Story Idea to Reader. 

5 comments: said...

Yes, so many beginning writers think that once they have written down the story from start to finish, that is that. Sad that some of us never progress beyond that stage and those rejections to become excellent writers, Patsy.

Mark said...

It's funny, I usually find myself trying to reduce my word count - i.e.cut stuff out that I don't need :)

Patsy said...

@ Lost – I remember thinking that the first draft was the writing part and editing was just fixing spelling errors and putting in commas. In my defence that was a long time ago and I soon learned how wrong I was!

@ Mark – Same here once I've got the first draft down, but if I try to edit as I go I never get the thing finished.

liz young said...

Sometimes fattening for its own sake can be counterproductive, though, filling the space with unnecessary details.

Patsy said...

@ Liz– You're right, it can be. Different approaches help, or hinder, different writers. Personally I like to write a bit too much and cut. Others like to write lean and add more detail in rewrites.