Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Revisions Using Wordle


One of great things about Twitter is finding out about cool things. And one of those cool things is Wordle.

Wordle turned my manuscript into a visual representation of the most used words. The more often a word is used, the bigger it is. I chose the layout (horizontal), the colors (Chilled Summer), and the font (Teen, of course). I can also look at a full word count list so I know exactly how many times I used the word just (an edit-worthy 82 times!)

My characters' names are the largest, which is to be expected. But other words become easy to see that they're over-used and unnecessary. In addition to just, there's:

  • really-55
  • seems-33
  • yeah-33
  • actually-32
  • finally-26
  • probably-26
I'm beginning Draft #6, the draft where I'm going through every chapter, scene, and word until it's as perfect as it can be. I've blogged about stop-words that kill the flow of fiction, and when they pop out at me on Wordle, it's worth hitting the Find Next button 26 or 55 or 82 times.

I also like Wordle because it shows me words that can be better. Going, go, know, see, and want are words that may need to be changed because there are more active, vibrant words to use.

After I've finished Draft #6, I'll post my Wordle poster again to let you know how much it has changed. (FYI, Wordle is a Java application, so it doesn't save as a jpeg. But you can save it as a pdf or as a screenshot.)

And if you try Wordle, let me know what words you're working on to eliminate!

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