Friday, 4 November 2011

Cushions, Fluff and Beef... Oh my!

I was reading some of the forums on NaNoWriMo late last night (read: I was distracted) and I read something that really got to me...

Some of the participants were talking about ways to, I believe the phrase was, "cushion [their] word count". Meaning, ways to simply add more words to their manuscript, furthering their way towards their 50,000 word goal.

I don't see the point. Writing words solely to have a higher word count? Adding a scene just so your story is longer? Creating another character simply to drag things out a little bit longer?

It's one thing if these words, character and scenes add to the story. Or if, as I sometimes do, keep writing until you hit the best...
... way to describe something.
... setting for an encounter to take place.
... dialogue to reveal character.
... situation to further the plot.
... character to challenge your protagonist.

The problem is: solely, just, simply. These words are pawns. They serve no purpose other than to beef up the length and reach 50,000. You can't just view NaNoWriMo as a Who Can Play the Fastest Game...

Because it's supposed to sound like this...

NaNoWriMo can be a fun and effective tool. But when this tools is exploited solely to win the game, you can't distinguish the rhythm and the beauty that makes it wonderful in the first place.

Whether it's word number 1 or 50,000, give that word the decency to be one that's worth keeping.

Plus... this "cushion" will just end up being revised out. It's disposable baggage, and that's exactly what will happen to them: they will be disposed of. It's a waste of time. Stick to the story and don't add fluff to puff up the word count.

[end rant]

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