Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Using Wordle to Revise

Here's how I am planning on using Wordle to focus my revisions.

1. Put the entire chapter in Wordle.
2. Change the settings to show all words (in "language" tab, select "Do not remove common words")

3. Take a look at it. Some words are not going to need to be analyzed. You can right click on these and delete. I deleted she, her, the, and, Belle (the main character's name). These were words that did not need to be changed at all.



4. Now, there shouldn't be too much skewing for one word or another. Analyze what words are left. Look for things that indicate you've overused words. For me it was:


-was: an indication of too many passive sentences/weak verbs
-had: again, weak verbs
-to/at/in: perhaps too many prepositional phrases--I need to look at where and how they are used
-that: I might be leaning towards determinative sentence structure, or overusing that phrase

5. Next, I delete these words, then whatever other small phrases that pop up that aren't really important to structure/repetativeness (such as "a"). Now examine that word cloud. Is the overall thing you want to say in those words? Can you look at this word cloud and tell what the chapter is about (it doesn't matter if others can tell, just that you can)? Is there something there that is obviously not what you're trying to say--and should you delete that?

9 comments:

Justus M. Bowman said...

Can you download Wordle?

beth said...

I wish! I keep trying (I don't have internet at home) but I don't know of a way. Does anyone know of a word cloud application someone can dl?

Christine M said...

That is a great idea!

lotusloq said...

What an incredible idea. Thanks for sharing!

PJ Hoover said...

It is a great revision tool! I haven't used it in this much detail yet, but totally agree on the value.

Gottawrite Girl said...

I love this graphic... must try! Beth, enjoy the long weekend and your Turkey day!

beth said...

Thanks guys! It's something I'd been intending to do for awhile, and I'm looking forward to it. I'm not sure if I am going to invest the time to do every single chapter this way--it's pretty time intensive--but I will do the first 3-5 chapters in this manner, and I plan on continuing if it looks as if each chapter has different overused words. I suspect I might find that I overuse the same words (especially was) in each chapter.

Heather Zundel said...

This is brilliant. Even if you can't download it. Kudos to you Beth! Thanks so much for sharing this. I've already done my first chapter. . .

~Jamie said...

This is way too fun! haha I totally just wordled my book... the word that stood out the most? JUST... maybe I should just take it out, eh? :P