Monday, March 28, 2011

Writing Tip: An Easy Way to Find Repetitive Words When You Don't Know What They Are

I've seen lots of writing advice mention taking advantage of Word's find and replace function to see how many times you use common words. This is a good tool, if you know what words to look for.

Unfortunately, after hours of staring at a chapter, all the words tend to run together. Oh, I thought, if only there was a way to find the words I don't know I'm repeating. I didn't know where to find such information--until now.

Today I stumbled across wordle.net. All you have to do is copy and paste a bunch of your manuscript into their special box, and the site creates a word cloud with the words you use the most being the biggest. I plugged in my second chapter, and look what happened:


Wordle: Untitled


I enlarged the picture a little so you can see it better, but it's still blurry. Anyway, I've been over and rewritten this chapter several times, but there's still work to do. From this Wordle I see that I need to check my chapter for the words "looked," "back," "just," and "little," to see if I can cut some of them. I may run a couple of the other words through as well. (Not with a sword, but with the find and replace function--though I may feel like using a sword by this point!)

If you try this, please let me know how you like it! I have a feeling that Wordle and I are going to be good friends.


4 comments:

C. K. Bryant said...

This is a great tool for writers. Thanks for sharing it, Rebecca.

HUGS

grumpy said...

Wow I am glad you told me that was blurry, I thought it was my eyes,... lol

I never thought to use wordle for such a thing. I see it did just what you wanted it to do!

Debbie said...

That is a brilliant use for wordle! And easy tool that would help any writer.

Taffy said...

I LOVE this site! I'm going to use it more to help desuckify my WIP.