Thoughts on writing: How to add five thousand words to your story using these 31 weird old tips

As you know, Bob, writers are paid by the word. Here are 31 handy tips for adding another five thousand words to your story.  Enjoy!

(a) Add sublot involving unicorns.

(b) In middle of story, have a 5K word listing of all the spaceships in the entire fleet along with their captains–hey, it worked in book 2 of the Iliad.

(c) Rewrite key scenes so they take place in a cavern where every sentence echoes.

(d) 5K word prologue taking place four thousand years before the story starts.

(e) Make it a frame story. First, a 2.5K opening where our protagonist is a simple farmgirl in Kansas. Then, the 15K story where the protagonist is a male starship captain. Then, another 2.5K where she wakes up and realizes it was all a dream. Also realizes there’s no place like home.

(f) Apply techniques advocated by “The 10% Solution,” but in reverse. Repeat this process 2-3 times.

(g) Change name of main character from Ken to “He who speaks to woodland creatures by light of crescent moon”.

(h) Rewrite in style of James Fenimore Cooper.

(i) Add scene in which shuttle piloted by Wesley Crusher collides with X-wing fighter flown by Jar Jar Binks, resulting in death of all involved. Scene must be be extremely detailed with graphic description of decapitation(s).

(j) “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” repeated 500 times.

(k) Extensive passages consisting only of Vogon poetry.

(l) Divide existing sections into chapters. Each chapter must begin with pretentious quote purporting to be” from Muad’Dib, Family Commentaries by the Princess Irulan”.

(m) 5,000 word digression on “The Whiteness of the Whale”.

(n) Stop making idiotic lists and blog posts, and actually write something decent.

(o) Temporal anomaly traps plot in repeating loop.

(p) Holodeck malfunction.

(q) Appendix translating key made-up words into English, with cross-reference to Elvish and Klingon.

(r) Story-within-a-story. Character picks up a magazine and starts reading a short story. He comments on how great the story is. Insists on reading it aloud to other characters. All characters remark that the story is genius. The story is–get this–one of my 5K trunk stories that is unpublishable. 2 birds, 1 stone!

(s) Footnotes, and plenty of ’em.

(t) Omniscient narrator with tendency to discuss stamp collecting.

(u) Thinly-disguised Joe Biden character.

(v) Half-way through story, characters are exposed to “amnesium” and forget what just happened. Hilarious scene where we see them re-enact the plot–only with a wacky different outcome!

(w) Product placement. “Captain Jones has flaming red hair, kept soft and shiny through the use of System Biolage conditioner, Science in Sync With Nature.”

(x) The old Back-to-the-Future gambit: Character invents time machine, returns back to beginning of story and we replay same scenes from different POV.

(y) Battery on hearing aid fails, and lovable old grampa character forces everyone to repeat their lines, this time yelling them IN CAPITAL LETTERS.

(z) Since this post contains about 500 words, embed this post in the original story in 10 different places.

(alpha) Rewrite in the form of one giant telegram, in steampunk epistolary style, necessitating changing all periods to STOP. As in, “Captain Jones fired his phaser STOP The alien collapsed STOP”.

(beta) Run story through Google translate. Translate from English to German.

(gamma) Rewrite story in the form of a judicial procedure taking place after the end, Rashomon-style, where each character gives testimony describing the plot from a different POV.

(delta) Lengthy conversations extolling the virtues of Objectivism.

(epsilon)  Characters are trapped on a bus with a hidden bomb ; bomb will go off if characters stop talking.

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