Monday, September 28, 2009


Wordle: Blog
Last week's blog, according to Wordle

Ah, Wordle and its "beautiful word clouds." It's like a tie-dyed concordance and a computer-charged set of poetry magnets all in one. (For those of you who don't know how this works, a concordance as presented by a word cloud gives greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text... so, because I was writing about "bad behavior" lately in my blog, the word bad became very large in this Wordle of my blog as it existed at the end of last week. I suspect the words book and think would stay prominent over time.)

I love "reading" these word clouds to find unexpected language. In my own Wordled blog, I found the following phrases:

"Get going right away"

"Bad readers writing final ideas"

"Behavior like two postcards"

"Sometimes always business first"

"Parents talk, still prefer self-promotion actions"

"People eventually just getting everyone reading"

"Creative characters important"

"Okay fiction"

Now, mostly this is just silly fun, but I have a suggestion for beginning writers that uses this program. Wordle your work-in-progress, then look at it. Is it what you expected? Are the names of some characters HUGE, when in fact you didn't think they got that much time on the page? Do you use fiction's "meaningless words" too often: apparently, very, or really? Or perhaps some good news... a theme of your book appears to you, written but unnoticed until now. It's suprisingly cool how much this reveals about your use of language.

Go Wordle something! Your blog, your WIP, a spam email... and come back and tell me what you think of your results! Better yet, post a link so we can all see which font, style, and colors you chose. I promise to view them all.


  1. I've never heard of Wordle. This would be a great help when looking for those over-used words in your ms. Thanks for sharing. I'm going to check that link out.

  2. Bummer, I tried, but it had a Java problem on my computer.

  3. Thanks for sharing about Wordle! I'll have to go check it out!

  4. i'm a total fan of wordle. all of my little signatures and therapy notices come from wordle. took FOREVER to get the to line up the way i wanted them to, though! :)

    Where Romance Meets Therapy

  5. Great link, Carrie. I put in page one of my WIP and was surprised at what I saw! Yikes!
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. I am to Wordle everything I can find!

  7. Fantastic idea to use this for the WIP! Thanks for this! Kind of ties into my visualizing plot post today.

    PS discovered problem with comments and is now fixed. Had to redo entire blog template but all for you Carrie :)

  8. Fun toy!

    Fav. phrases I found in my blog...

    "Sexism later"
    "Unfortunate missing worker"
    "Better just look"

  9. Oh, how cool. I'll have to check it out.

  10. That is amazing!!!
    You totally just wasted about 5 hours of my time.
    Now I feel like getting out my old color crayons and magic markers and doodling.
    I'm going to past the wordle from my story in the front cover of the notebook I use to keep track of story details for inspiration.

    And what a great idea to help detect themes in the story!

  11. Ooh.. a wordle... I'm going to go play:)

  12. What fun! I need to go wordle my manuscript I just finished today. WOO-HOO!

  13. I found my way here from Nathan's blog. I've never encountered wordle before - must try it out on my novel. I KNOW that I repeat some words. Like, for sure.

  14. Thank you for a wonderful post. I am writing my first book and trying to get my head around editing. I am up to Draft #2 but from what I read in your post I have a few more drafts to go! Thanks for an insightful post - I found it very helpful!