Wednesday, August 22, 2012

An EXCELLENT way to waste time (you're welcome)

Last week I rediscovered an AWESOME website I'd forgotten about--and then proceeded to spend WAY too much time playing around. So then I was like crap, I better turn this into a blog post to try and justify the time I wasted ohhh, I should share this fabulousness with my followers so they can have fun too!

And no, I'm not talking about the My Little Pony creator--though THAT is an awesome waste of time too. I'm talking about wordle! Check out the word clouds I made for my books:

This is from the text of KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES:


And this is from the text of LET THE SKY FALL:
So if you can't tell, wordle takes the most commonly used words in any text you want and makes them into a cloud. Which can actually be a very useful writing tool.

It's not all that helpful when you're doing an ENTIRE BOOK like I did for these, since the only words that repeat on that level (especially with how freakishly long my books are) are usually the character names, "like" (I love me my similies--plus my characters are Californians) and a few other key elements of the book. (for instance, "wind" is in LTSF's since, well... they control the wind). 

But it can be VERY useful to make word clouds for your individual chapters--especially when you're in the early drafting stages. Not only will it help you spot writing tics like excess sighs (one time I discovered that a character liked to "chuckle" too much) but it can also help you figure out if your themes are reading through. If none of the words connected to the theme are showing up in the wordles, odds are you aren't bringing it out enough.

I could keep rambling about their usefulness but I have a feeling most of you have already clicked away to start making wordles of your own--and I can't say I blame you. They're ridiculously addictive (I will NOT be confessing how many I've made). And if you haven't hopped over there yet--what are you waiting for? Play away! 

And if you discover something cool, come back and share in the comments. WE CAN HAVE A WORDLE PARTY!!!!*

*arguably the nerdiest party that could ever exist.

17 comments:

  1. Oh, I love time wasting with a purpose. :) That was pretty cool--I only wish my book was in third person so that the mc's name would be bigger!
    The only funny thing about mine was that it counted "MR." as a word (I write historical fiction, so it crops up a lot). Amidst all the relevant character and thematic words, there's this big giant MR. :)

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  2. You actually forgot about Wordle? You have been busy. And I've never seen the option to rotate the way you did for Sky. Looks awesome.

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    1. Really? It's under "layout". I believe for the LTSF one I selected "any which way". Glad you like it!

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  3. I remember Wordle but I've never used it as a tool. Hmmmmm.

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  4. OMG. This is way too much fun. Thanks for posting this. I just wish I could figure out how to save the image. I would love to post mine on my blog. I will definitely be linking to your blog on mine. Thanks!!!

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    1. I just took screenshots of the wordle. Not sure what platform you use, but for mac its command + shift + 4, and it lets you select what part of the screen you want to capture.

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  5. I've never heard of Wordle but what a fabulous idea! I often worry that my characters nod too much. Or furrow their brow.

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  6. LOL the Pony one! That is rather fun. Never seen it. Thank you fro reminding me about Wordle. I keep forgetting about that. Was trying to remember the name. Have a fabulous Wed!

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  7. I think it's pretty neat how you can make a sentence with the most common words that (maybe?) encompasses something about your story. "Audra back away eyes just know like wind want Vane"? Am I close?

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  8. Thanks. I had exhausted every single thing to do in Potterville...

    I'm not even joking. I'm a potion master.

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  9. You are sooo funny Shannon! Thanks for sharing fun and time-wasting nerdiness! I love the chapter idea. I think I know what I'm doing tonight while the kids are at Cub Scouts! :)

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  10. Fun post! : ) I'll have to check out Wordle. Looks like fun.

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  11. Well, I found your blog through Robin Weeks and I just wanted to post and say thanks for sharing this. I already tried it out, but my Wordle is so small you can't read it. I'm going to try the screenshot thingy and see if that helps make it larger...

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    1. I tried the screenshot and it did make the image larger, but still not as large as yours. I guess what I have will have to work for now:)

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  12. I've noticed Wordles on several blogs--it seems like a really useful tool! And a fun one. :)

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  13. I used to be obsessed with Wordle, but then I completely forgot about it... until now :) *clicks on the link*

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  14. LOVE YOUR BOOKS/ WASTED MORE THEN TWO HOURS ON WORDLE :)

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