Monday, November 8, 2010

Do You Cheat?

Hello out there!  I'm taking (yet another) break from writing my novel.  While I'm writing this ahead of time, I'm sure that I'll have deserved yet another break at some point in the future.

My question today is: do you cheat in NaNoWriMo?  I don't mean the little tricks that boost your word count (eliminating contractions, writing out full names every time, so on and so forth).  I mean really cheat.  The word count that you update on the NaNo website is never validated until the last week or so of the month, which means you could give yourself an extremely high word count if you chose to do so.

Of course, once you uploaded your file for validation, the proper word count would be reflected.  But I'm sure that doesn't stop some people from trying to "fit in" and keep up their word count when faced with other writers who are legitimately reaching different plateaus.

Personally, I don't cheat.  What is really the point?  The word count is really a competition against yourself, not other people.  Plus, as I said, you have to validate your word count at the end in order to be declared a "winner".  Sure I could enter that I wrote 100k words, but as soon as I upload my file the NaNoBots (those sound cool, by the way) would see that I really wrote 35k or 40k or what have you.

Of course there are ways around that too - NaNoWriMo even gives you a link to a Lorem Ipsum generator, for those that are handwriting.  That certainly wouldn't stop anyone from adding a few extra thousand words to their novel to reach the 50,000 word goal if they're just a little short.  Then they too would be able to claim the CreateSpace free proof.  Or the software discounts.  Or the flashy Internet badge.

And THAT is really the reason why I don't cheat in NaNoWriMo.  There are actually prizes on the line for people who manage to write 50,000 words, prizes that cost somebody real money.  So not only are you denying yourself the actual purpose of a prize by cheating, you're stealing.  Sort of.

I think in that case, I don't mind doing the little bit of word padding to legitimately write 50,000 words and earn my CreateSpace proof copy.

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