How to Increase Word Count

Word count is the total number of words in a document. You may be trying to increase the word count of your essay for a class or a paper for a school assignment. Or, perhaps you want to increase the word count of your novel or short story to meet a deadline. Bolstering word count can be done by adding new content or by expanding on existing content. With the right approach, you can increase word count in your work easily and efficiently.

Adjusting Existing Content in Your Paper

Clarify your statements.

Read over your paper and look for any statements that seem long-winded or unclear. Break apart long sentences or statements into multiple sentences. Then, clarify your ideas in each sentence to help increase your word count. Add follow up statements so your ideas are specific and well rounded in the paper.

For example, you may use clarifying phrases like, 'In other words...' or 'As noted in my previous paragraph...'.

Rework your introduction and conclusion.

One spot in your paper where you can increase word count is your introduction and your conclusion. Read over your introduction and consider if you can add one to two more sentences to make it sound more detailed and well-rounded. Check your conclusion for any spots where an extra sentence might be needed, such as a short, powerful final sentence at the end of your conclusion to wrap up the essay.

For example, you may notice that there is a long sentence in your introduction that could be broken up and then elaborated on further. Or maybe there is an image from the text that you want to describe in a bit more detail in your conclusion to wrap up the paper.

Expand on your existing quotes.

Another way you can increase word count is to expand on any quotes or references you already have in your paper. Look over the quotes you have already included in the paper. Consider if you can add more of the quote or other quotes from the text to support your idea.

For example, if you have a short quote from a section of the text, add another quote that relates to it so you can flesh out your ideas more in your paper. You can also substitute your existing quotes for quotes that are longer or more relevant to your ideas. This can make your paper stronger and help you increase the word count.

Adding New Content to the Paper

Put in different viewpoints on the topic.

You can make your paper longer by adding in viewpoints that are different than your own. This could be an opposing viewpoint on your topic or a viewpoint that is slightly different than your own. Adding in different viewpoints can help to make your paper stronger and help you reach the required word count.

For example, if you are writing a paper on reproductive rights in Oregon, you may include a section on an opposing viewpoint on abortion rights from a credible source.

Include more examples in the text.

You can also increase word count in the paper by adding in more examples from your sources. Look in your body paragraphs for spots where another example may be relevant to support your idea. Use examples that are more detailed from your source text to strengthen your argument and add to the word count.

For example, you may add another example from the source text that illustrates the theme of your essay. Or you may include another case study to support your argument in a paper.

Put in other references or sources.

Consider if there are other references or sources that you can add to your paper to make it more well rounded. Add in references from other texts or include a new source that feels relevant to your topic.

For example, if you are writing a paper on reproductive rights in Oregon, you may look for a recent government source that you can then pull content from to add to your paper. Or you may add scholarly articles to your paper to help support your ideas more fully.

Avoid adding fluff to the paper.

Try not to simply put in fluff, or unnecessary content, into your paper to increase the word count. Fluff includes things like stating the obvious and repeating the same ideas or thoughts several times. Avoid being redundant to help reach your word count. This will only tell your instructor that you are trying to pad your paper, rather than delve deeper into your ideas.

You should also avoid using overly complex words in your sentences. Do not try to increase word count by adding a lot of 'very,' 'really,' and 'rather' in your sentences. This will only clutter up your essay and weaken your sentences.

Increasing Word Count for a Novel or Short Story

Flesh out existing scenes.

If you are trying to increase the word count for a novel or short story, try adding details to existing scenes. Read over the scenes you are have already written and consider if there is a detail about the setting that you can add to the scene. You can also add more of the physical movements or physical details of your characters in a scene.

For example, if you have a scene where two characters are arguing in a forest, you may include more details about the forest setting. You can also elaborate on what the characters are wearing in the scene as well as how they move their bodies when they are speaking to each other.

Include backstory for characters.

Backstory is the past of a character or their history as a character. Having backstory can be valuable in a novel or a longer short story as it helps your reader get a better sense of how your character arrived in the present of the story. It can also make them feel more fully realized on the page.

For example, you may try adding in section of backstory for your main character about their childhood. Or you may include a chapter that discusses the history of the relationship between two characters as a form of backstory.

Connect loose threads in the narrative.

Read over the draft of your novel or short story and consider if there are any loose threads in your narrative. This could be a relationship between two characters that are left too open or a conflict that is not resolved. There may also be a theme in your novel that sort of fades into the background. Try to draw out this theme more to increase word count and make the narrative stronger.

For example, maybe you have a conflict that happens mid-way in the novel. You may try to resolve this conflict by adding content to the last section of the novel so it feels more wrapped up and complete.

Add minor characters.

Another way you can increase the word count of your novel or short story is to add in a minor character or several minor characters. Minor characters can be useful for moving the plot forward and for developing your main characters in more detail. Minor characters often show up sporadically in the story or at crucial moments in the plot.

For example, perhaps you add in a family member for your main character who plays a minor part in the story. Or maybe you include a best friend character to add more content to the novel.

Put in a subplot.

A subplot is a plot that is secondary to the main plot in a story. Subplots can be useful for making your overall story more complicated and engaging for the reader. They often involve minor characters and present a conflict or issue that is not as immediate as the main plot.

For example, if you are writing a novel about the end of a marriage, you may have the main plot be the end of the marriage from the perspective of the couple. The subplot could then be how the marriage affects the children of the couple.

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