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?

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