Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

Never stop dreaming, 'cause the day you stop dreaming, is the day you stop living.

Battle of Words: Word Wars


Word Wars. I can guarantee many people are unfamiliar with the name. It stems from National Novel Writing Month and is a technique for writers I only recently discovered. As recent as last night, even.

Inspiration. Books and History.

The concept is simple. Two people, or more, plan a specific time frame during which they will write, write, and write some more. Every person participating does this. Whether five minutes, twenty minutes or thirty; the idea is to put the pen to paper, fingers to keys, and get those words that evade you when you try to write, down.

Last night, the wonderful Elisa Michelle and I accepted the challenge. We went for twenty minutes – not too long, nor too short. And wow, did it help. At the end of the twenty minutes, 793 words twinkled at me from my computer screen. Oh, sure, they need editing, but they’re on paper. Fewer words that I must still write.

After that, we did another twenty minutes. 779 words. And once more. 775 words. That, combined with what I wrote earlier that day, put me at 2,548 words for the day! So close to 3,000 in only an hour and a half of writing; that’s double what I write during the best of circumstances, alone.

Elisa and I have planned many more little word wars between us, in the future. Even after NaNoWriMo, we will venture forth and battle for the queenly crown of words. Our plan is to do a couple, once a week. If we get more than that done, great!

There’s something about writing in such a challenging way – both with and against someone. It spurred me on and shot my word count to heights unimaginable before. I think every writer should find someone to go to war with, even if just to try it out. Find an opponent, pick a time frame, and write!

You know you want to.

Total NaNoWriMo word count: 12,121

Have a free snippet of Tales of The Forbidden, freshly written during yesterday’s word war!

Her bottom lip trembled and tears stung behind her eyes. The exhaustion faded from her body and she pushed to her feet. Aziel’s words tormented her – floated within the cavern of her mind and echoed louder and louder.

Worthless. A waste of time. A disgrace.

Aziel’s expression softened. “Saria –“

She ran. Away from them. Away from everyone. Her legs carried her around the castle to the furthest edge of Eteria’s capital. Blood rushed to her head. Someone called after her but Saria didn’t listen – could not hear. The words flew past her.

The grassy ground vanished behind her as she reached trees and other greenery. Bolting into the thicker nature, Saria ran as fast as she could. Adrenalin rushed through her, spurring her on. A branch tore skin off her upper arm. The pain registered as no more than a dull tug.

Walls appeared ahead – tall, thick and secure to ward off enemies. Beyond that, Jezil’s barrier awaited.

Trapped. Locked away where she was hated.

Let me know what you think! Opinions are always welcome and rewarded with the giver being showered in tinsel and sparkles and other random things I think of at the time!

Author: Natasha McNeely

I'm a writer, reader, gamer and a dreamer. I love losing myself to thought and considering possibilities. That is how I create my stories and weave the erratic tales into readable ones.

7 thoughts on “Battle of Words: Word Wars

  1. Just be careful with the anatomy 😀 I don’t think her tears actually sting behind her eyes. >_> Sorry for being pedantic. It’s just the anatomist in me.

    • Care to suggest how I could describe it, instead? 🙂

      • We usually fall back on familiar clichés during drafting. But that’s what the entire editing process is for. The draft is meant to be wild, messy, and almost entirely incomprehensible. The edit is when we stop and really consider what those feelings are, which words will accurately and genuinely reflect the experience. Definitely not something to worry about at this stage of writing! The tough considerations, the visceral descriptions will all come during editing. 🙂


      • True. Like I said in my earlier reply, the first draft is for getting the idea onto paper. Still, I have a habit; if someone mentions something that could be better, I always want to fix it!

  2. I’ve done a couple of things similar to word wars. They can work, just like any technique, but I’m one of those difficult people who sometimes just doesn’t want to adhere to rules, even self-imposed ones. XD It’s awesome that you’ve gotten so much done!

    I will tell you honestly, I can see a difference between what you wrote before, and what’s come out of your word war. Rushing can be evident, so you might find yourself with more editing to do with the word war text than other writing. Don’t worry too much; I’m in the same boat with my own rushed writing. I’ve had to add in so much secondary detail in some parts of this one story, specifically in places I REMEMBER tearing through at a fast pace. The things we do!


    • Adhering to rules can be difficult, but I think there are some aspects or writing patterns that each writer can work with.

      I guess that really is where first drafts and editing come in. After all, I do believe it was Ernest Hemingway who said, “The first draft of anything is shit.” Use the draft to get the idea onto paper, edit like crazy to bring quality into the picture. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Writing Plans: Fight to The Finish | Natasha McNeely's Guide to The Beyond

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