Sorry I didn't post over the weekend, I was in full fledged NaNoRevisMo mode, which meant not a whole lot of time for much else (well...except the hour I wasted on Twitter on Saturday night, but that wasn't my fault--that site is more addictive than Crack! Well...I've never tried Crack, but everyone talks about it like it's a hard habit to break so...).
Anyway, for those of you wondering how it's going...well...it's hard to say. I've now revised the first 142 pages of my draft (yay!) and removed 5914 icky words (double yay!). The only problem is, by some weird glitch in the Universe, my draft is UP in word count, by about 200 words. Don't ask me how that happened--I have no idea. But it's really a drag because my word count is WAY too high already, so I'm either going to have to cut A LOT in the pages to come or I'm definitely going to have to go back through those first 142 pages again. Or, maybe--gulp--both. *Sighs* I guess I'll cross that bridge when I get there.
But that's enough boring revision updates. On to what I really want to talk about.
I discovered a really cool revision tool: Word Clouds. (Thus the cheesy title for this post--see the dorky way my brain works?)
If you don't know what they are, you can find out all about them and/or make your own at wordle--though I warn you--it's completely addictive. I had WAY too much fun with them this weekend.
No, I did NOT scour my files for things I could turn into word clouds.
Okay, actually I did. But, I promise, there was a method to my madness!
One of the writers I follow tweeted that she uses word clouds for her revisions. (See! I learn stuff from Twitter, so it's okay that I obsessively check my tweets, right?) She said she likes to turn her drafts into word clouds because it'll show her if she's using the same words too often and it also helps her to see how the characters are ranking--if any side characters are getting more face time than more important characters, that kind of thing. And let me tell you, she's a Genius!
I made a bunch of word clouds with my draft, and it was amazing! I did one for the whole draft which I learned A LOT from, but I'm not quite ready to share that one yet. (It kinda gives a few of my secrets away--something I'm realizing means they're not as secret as they need to be. See--genius!) But, I did make one for the first chapter which you can see below.
And, what did I learn?
First of all, I was SO relieved when my main character popped up as the major word--maybe I'm doing something right!
(BTW, that's a fact I've never shared: my main character's name is Sophie. When she originally appeared in the short story I was writing--which then turned into a book, which then turned into a series--proof that I am incapable of being concise--I'd named her Agnes. I know--cringe! I had my reasons, I swear. Anyway, when she took over the story and my brain and my life--yes, my characters are WAY too real to me--the first thing she INSISTED on was a new name. Three baby name books later I finally settled on Sophie. Since then I've had second thoughts--especially when I realized that its the name of my in-law's dog--but the stubborn girl is already sold on Sophie and won't let me change it. So, Sophie it is.)
I was also glad to see the word "Eyes" playing such a prominent role, since they're pretty important in the chapter, and I was glad the word "sighed" was nice and tiny because I've been trying to tone that down. (One of my CP's pointed out that my characters sigh a lot and by golly were they right--it was OUT OF CONTROL.) Hopefully I've remedied that problem. I was also happy to see that there weren't too many adverbs in there, so maybe I have that under control. All in all, I was happy with the word cloud, and have decided to take it as a sign that I'm getting close--maybe! (On that chapter at least)
And now that I've shared it with you, I wonder if any of you can guess what's going on in this chapter based on the word cloud. I don't think it's very clear--in fact, it even confuses me a little when I look at it--but maybe I'm wrong. Feel free to take a guess in your comments, I'd love to read them.