Tuesday, April 6, 2010

PROOF that Wordle can help you edit

I made it in Wordle.

Okay, everyone, remember back in September of last year when I blogged about how you can use Wordle to edit your works-in-progress? I specifically asked the question:

Do you use fiction's "meaningless words" too often:
apparently, very, or really?

Right then. Please observe the concordance/word cloud that Wordle gave me after I pasted in the text of James Franco's short story that recently appeared in Esquire. (I excluded all character names from the Wordle for this exercise.)

Authors, the words LIKE and JUST should under no circumstances be that prominent in your writing. I would also suggest you read your stories aloud at some point, which will make it that much more likely that you notice such clunkers as "black gaping gap" (paragraph seven).

Oh, and be glad that you aren't famous enough that Esquire accepts your stories in such condition, thereby exposing you to internet ridicule (Le R. and Salon, respectively).

Now go enter my contest! A lovely chapbook and amazing fudge recipe await the winner!

17 comments:

  1. I enjoy the fact that across the middle is the phrase "like little fuck time." I'm not very mature.

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  2. I love reading Wordles. "Crazy heart busted thing" is my current favorite, but only because in this version all three versions of the f-bomb aren't clustered together like they were in the first version... and it was dead-center, too.

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  3. How do you exclude words? I've been staring at the site for the past few minutes and can't figure it out.

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  4. Right-click on the word in question, and the REMOVE option will appear.

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  5. Ha! I blogged about this sometime back as well, lovely CKHB. Did you know you can also get a word count from Wordle? As in, an accounting for the number of times you have used any given word? Under LANGUAGE, go to the bottom and get WORD COUNTS.

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  6. Good point. On another note, the prominence of "shit", "fuck", "fucking", and "Fuck" in this particular word cloud makes me laugh.

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  7. That is very cool to see all of the prominent words! I think it would be interesting to find out what I overuse--I'm sure too many!

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  8. I am too much of a chicken to do this!

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  9. LOOOOOOOL

    i think i might love you now.

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  10. Lucy, I had no idea! That's excellent.

    Lt. Cccyxx, right there with ya!

    Jody & Jungle Mom, I've done it with my work and noticed things like, "Why is that character name so big? He's not that important! Time to edit his scenes down..." and I promise you, it's a GOOD experience, not a bad one!

    Thanks, Tahereh! Hee.

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  11. Okay, I've seen people posting these Wordle things on their blog sites and I didn't know what they were. Maybe after the end of April I can do the research to see what you're talking about. Right now I'm covered up.

    Lee
    Blogging From A to Z April Challenge

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  12. Unfortunately, Wordle doesn't work if you have certain kinds of firewalls. Too bad. It looks like a lot of fun as well as a great editing tool.

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  13. Wordles really show the truth, huh? I love playing on that site. :) I like your "Mexican Jewish freeway."

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  14. We are obsessed with Wordle. One of the most satisfying moments of finishing a manuscript is plugging that bad boy into Wordle to see JUST how many words we repeat.

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  15. I'm sure the fiction editor at Esquire (I'm assuming they have one) pitched a holy fit over that story. He must have been overridden by some senior editor wanting to... hell, I don't know. No one with even reasonably good taste would get past a third paragraph that starts with this sentence:

    "We sit here because it's dark here, and there are no lights outside this building."

    Huh?

    There's more wrong with the story than just, like, the overuse of "just" and "like," is all I'm saying.

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  16. I've actually used this technique and it's quite helpful. :D

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  17. Hi Carrie, I found you visa Sierra's blog. I've never used Wordle, but "fuck" and "fucking" are pretty prominent in that cloud. And fudge recipe? I'm heading right over!

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