Friday, September 27, 2013

WIP Tip: Wordle

WIP Wednesday on Friday… Sorry it's late! I found this the other day and couldn't wait until next week to share it.

 

Wordle. Have you ever used one? You paste a body of text into their form, and the website will spit back out a Wordle, which shows you which words are used the most. You can use this site for pretty much anything, but I’ve taken to using it for revising. Want to know why? Because it shows you which words you use the most, and it does so in context of every other word in your novel.


Let’s take a look at an example. Here’s my Wordle for my current draft of GYRE:

 


Now, let me go through and kind of dissect what we have here. I’ve color-coded the image in MS Paint. Yellow highlighted words are my “habit words”, like just, probably, didn’t, and something. Green highlighted words are “telling” words.




Want to know what jumps out at me first? It’s not that I have A LOT of yellow and green. It’s not even that I have four main characters as big words in here.

It’s that I use “just” more than I used either of the MC’s names. That’s right. “Just” shows up in my manuscript more often that “Trevor” and “Chelsea”. In fact, I don’t even see “said” on the Wordle, which means “asked” is used more as a dialogue tag than “said”.


Please excuse me while I walk away in embarrassment.


*Comes back.*


See what I mean? Wordle is like a revising godsend. I now know to not only do a search for telling words, but to weed out 99% of the times I said “just”, too. My critique partner actually pointed out to me how often I use that word, but I never noticedhow often until I did this Wordle.



So go ahead and make your own Wordle. What words do you use the most? Do any stick out above the rest?

11 comments:

  1. I never thought to look for habit or telling words! Thanks for the tip.

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    1. It's amazing how clear those words are after using Wordle. I knew "just" was a big one, but I did NOT see how big of an issue it was!

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  2. This is very good to know about. Thank you!

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  3. If I used Wordle I'd end up trying to use words like defenestration and trebuchet a lot just to make them show up in the Wordle.

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  4. I had a Wordles post recently: http://carrieannebrownian.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/wordles-showcase/

    I was kind of surprised at how some words and names showed up in smaller type when they seemed to have been used more often, and how other words and names didn't show up when I'd assumed they occurred more often.

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  5. I've always tired to use one of those clouds and they never work with what I paste into the box! I'm not sure why. "Just" is one of those extra words that like to sneak in there!

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  6. I love Wordle-you are so clever! This is amazing and that is a word I use to often~ Great info-thank you!

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