Monday, October 17, 2011

Playing with (and learning from) Wordle

Wordle is this neat site where you can create a word cloud from whatever text you want. You just copy, paste, and click go. You can edit the font, the colors, the orientation of the words, and the number of words. It's a great way to literally take a snapshot of your story and see what words you used most frequently. With this you can see what was emphasized and maybe spot some problems too.

I've plugged five books into Wordle to see the results. This is my very first (unpublished) novel Page of Wands:

You can definitely tell the names of the main characters. There are too many filler words present: like, just, around, something, back, thought. Seeing school, mother, and father point to it being Young Adult. Seeing ears and hair make me laugh because I know why those words were used so much. It's interesting to see this representation of a book I wrote that will never be published and that I haven't re-read in quite some time.

Here's Bring on the Night:

Again with the prominent character names, which I expect would be normal for any book. Like and know are the problem children here, though I do enjoy seeing fangs and shotgun together.

Mojo Queen:

With this one being in first person, Roxie's name is very small. I see some things that do give away something about the story: aura, energy, magic, demon, glasses. Blake is in giant letters, ha. And then there's like, grr.

Red House:

Once again Blake is in giant letters, though it looks like Daniel is larger this time (meaning it was used more). New character Shelby must have been around quite a bit. And damn it, there's like again.

The Key of Darkness (this is volume one of my web serial):

This is in third person so main character Eve's name is used a lot. And Pete! Who stole the role of hero right out from under Knox, the poor guy. Chet is also prominent. I'm just proud the top three characters are more pronounced than the word like.

From these snapshots I can tell that characters are king in my stories, and I have a problem with the word like. Better work on that.

Wordle is pretty fun to play with and I plan to use it from now on with all my stories, of whatever length. You can save the image by whatever method you use to take a screencap. I use the snipping tool, which is found in the start menu under accessories.

No comments: