Friday, December 18, 2009

The Value of Wordle

Wordle is one of the fascinating little programmes which develop when people have a lot of time, and a lot of enthusiasm on their hands. In any age other than this one, the wordle wouldn't even be a concept.

You can find Wordle here!

Wordle is a fantastic writer's tool. All you need to do is select All of your text, put it into the Wordle text box, and paste it in. Then hit GO and see what comes up. I recommend you change the background to white, and then print it out for further ruminations.

My favourite use for Wordle is to spot weak words. It's also excellent for spotting repetitive uses of words. It should show clearly who your main characters are - and they are not always the point of view characters. This can be a tool to interrogate your novel in a completely different way.

Onto the personal stuff... this is the Wordle on my book at draft one.

I can see all sorts of words I am going to examine and fix in the novel - but one step at a time. I wrote this in a rush, and there's been a lot of cutting since this wordle was created, and there's going to be a lot more. (I didn't actually have a plot until about a third of the way into the novel. So that's about a third that needs to go! And then the last two thirds needs to be explored and ... fixed.)

You can see my lead character's name very clearly. I was surprised at who of my secondary characters showed up, and the strength of their place in the Wordle above. I didn't think Marissa had been given that much page-time, but it seems she gets mentioned as much as or more than Killan, who I thought had more page-time than any other secondary character.

There's a lot of words I am going to be examining with a fine toothed comb - back, just, enough, one, something, nothing, think, get, eyes, like, thought, feel,... lots of weak words in there. The next time I post this, expect it to be interesting to see what's different!

Wordle is also a way of making both Poetry and Art from your novel. The size of the font relates to the number of times you used each word, presenting both immediate visual cues, and a poetic display of symbolic relationships.


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