What is a Word War?
It's a friendly competition to see who can write the most in a set period of time. This can be over the course of a month with daily interval updates, or over the course of a few minutes with instant results.
In a chatroom setting the game is fast paced fun with the timer set to a few minutes and participants compete in several rounds. Speed writing is key!
This is the standard way the Chat Tour hosts a Word War. If you are hosting your own Word War game you can modify these rules and timers for your own purpose, but be sure to inform all participants of the variations before you start!
Step by Step Instructions:
1. The host will tell everyone to prepare for the round, and allow a minute or two for participants to open their word processor of choice.
2. The host will set a 15 minute timer.
3. The host will tell everyone to 'Start!' in the chatroom and start the timer.
4. Participants will write as much as they can, as fast as they can, in their word processors.
5. Once the time is up, the host will tell everyone to 'Stop!' in the chatroom. Everyone must stop writing that instant!
6. Participants will post their total word count for the current round according to their word processor. (That means no previous rounds or additional words are to be included in the count.)
7. The host will record all the posted numbers.
8. The steps are repeated for the following rounds until the game is over.
The participant who writes the most that round will be the Round Winner, but the host records the numbers from every round.
The participant who writes the most words in total will be declared the Game Winner!
If you've never played in a Word War you'll find competition can be stiff, but that's okay because there are ways to complete even your first time out.
Turns off the television, put your phone on silent, tell your loved ones you need a few minutes of quiet time, or anything else you need to do. If it pulls you away from your writing you should avoid it for the 15 minute intervals. You will notice a positive difference in your word count.
Keep writing! No matter what.
Notice a typing error as you pound away on your keyboard? Ignore it. Spelling, grammar, punctuation, or any other type of error can be ignored. You can fix them later, but right now you're competing!
Don't get stuck.
These come in many forms, but most can be solved with a trusty symbol of choice. I like to use the @ symbol for easy 'Find & Replace' later, but any not used in regular writing will suffice.
How does it work? Whenever you're stuck you simply put in the symbol with a note. For instance if you forgot a character's last name you'd type in: Mr. LastName. Later you can search for the @ symbol and correct the name, but for now you can continue your speed writing unhindered!
This works for anything you forget or hadn't planned, including but not limited to: names, descriptions, information, or even whole scenes you need to skip over!
I found this tip in an online writing article years back, and I wish still had it so I could link it to you. It was very helpful. It's great for all writing, not just timed.
Plan your scenes.
Before attending a Word War plan out which scenes you intend to write. Jot down some notes for easy referencing throughout the event. This will avoid the panic if you forget what you're working on or finish a scene and don't know what to work on after.
Write your trouble areas beforehand.
I don't mean cheat and include them in your word count! I do mean if you have trouble starting scenes, then before the event write the tough first couple paragraphs. Then you can write the easy parts during the event.
Again, I don't mean include previously written parts in your word count, only that you should write parts you have trouble with when you're not being timed. This will let you write the easier (faster!) portions in the competition.
Quality vs Quantity
While they're great fun, Word Wars are not designed to help you write a great draft. There are two important things to remember however!
A terrible draft is better than no draft.
If you weren't going to do any writing, then what's the harm? Go for it and see what happens!
No one says you have to play to win.
Instead of rushing to write whatever pops into your head, you can take your time to consider quality. You probably won't win, but the writing is worth it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to write something in particular, like a prompt?
You can write whatever you want during the game. If you need to you can work on a school paper, prompt, novel, contest entry, or pick something random in the moment. It is completely up to you unless otherwise noted by the game host.
Am I required to post what I wrote?
Nope. In fact we ask that you don't post in the chatroom since it will flood the room and hinder chatting.
Can I post what I wrote somewhere else, like my gallery?
Sure, if you'd like! It's your writing and you can do what you want with it. We do suggest you edit first since the writing will be a rough draft and filled with typing errors!
Do you check to see if people are cheating?
Nope because cheaters could cheat the check too. Cheaters in friendly games are sad individuals and not worth honesty check efforts.
Can't players just lie about how much they wrote then?
They could, but lying about a word count won't benefit them. We don't offer prizes for winning, only for participating. Lying would only shame themselves.
How are prizes handled?
The Chat Tour gives out their prizes randomly based on participation. If you play a round you are eligible for a prize. Host groups vary and may distribute additional prizes as they see fit, but those details will be given before the game begins.
What if I don't have a word processor?
Try OpenOffice or Google Docs. Both are free and have word count features.
How do I check my word count?
Software varies. Usually it's under the 'Tools' menu, but you can look in your Help files or search google for an in depth answer for your particular software.