During the process of querying both literary agents and publishers, I have been told to try and increase the word count of my ‘completed’ manuscript.
After years of plotting, outlining, editing and polishing your story, this task feels something like being asked to climb Mount Everest with a twenty kilogram pack on your back. There mere thought of it can give you palpitations.
At first, the task seemed overwhelming, and I had no idea where to start. With a little thought and a lot of hard work, I managed to increase the word count of my book by seven thousand words.
Here is how I did it:
I found ways to expand on descriptions. If they were sitting by the harbour, I would describe the weather, people passing by and the surroundings in more detail.
I gave minor characters more of a voice, more dialogue. A conversation with the local barista while grabbing their morning coffee, or regular flirting with the sexy delivery guy.
I talk about my protagonist’s past trauma and what lead her to her current situation. I found ways to expand on that, by way of a flashback or inner monologue.
I created more conflict between the main character and the antagonist. I added in more funny stories in relation to the book’s resident clown and her shameless shenanigans.
I toyed with idea of writing a prologue or epilogue into my story. My story is written in first person by way of dairy entries. I decided a prologue would not work well for my story, however I wrote a thousand word epilogue.
The epilogue jumps one year into the future, and is a diary entry from her now partner and his point of view. The epilogue gives the reader an update on all the characters with a few surprises thrown in.
So, if you have been told to increase your word count, like me, you can do it if you use these strategies. It worked for me.