Inflatable Word Counts

“Peter Rabbit is this stupid book about this stupid rabbit who steals vegetables from other people’s gardens. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen… Eighty-three to go!”

– Lucy Van Pelt, “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown”

I’m trying incredibly not to artificially inflate my word count for NaNoWriMo by throwing things in that aren’t really part of the story, or that I didn’t write. But it seems to be happening anyway. Part of this is because I’m not telling my story in straight prose. Blog posts, text messages, e-mails, funeral announcements… I’m including them verbatim, because I find that to be an important part of the story. However, I’m also including the header information on the e-mails, texts, blog posts. The reason I’m doing that is to lend visual authenticity to the passages. But it does feel a lot like cheating. Even so, it’s still original content that I’m producing.

I also want to include quotes from famous people at the beginning of each chapter. And I will, but I will not count them in my word count. I won’t even add them to the document until after the story is finished, to avoid accidentally having them counted.

I’ve also decided to write an “Author’s Note” at the end, but as I will most likely be well over 50,000 words before the story is finished, I’m not worried about that being dishonest.

For those of you participating in NaNo this year… what are ways you feel you might be cheating on the word count?

“The end… ninety-four, ninety-five… The very very VERY end!”


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