Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fun with Wordle

Howdy, y'all!

So, if you don't know what Wordle is, let me briefly explain how it works. It's a nifty little website, where you can enter a bunch of text, and then it creates a "word collage" based on what you enter. The more frequently you use a certain word, the bigger it is in the collage. Fun, right?

But not only is it fun, it's also a useful tool for writers––because it shows you what words you might be using too much.

For example, here's what happened when I entered the entirety of my book UNRAVELING:

Uh wow, the word "like" is freakin' HUGE! Same with the word "know" ... and there are a lot of other words that are relatively large. 

Now, this is what happened when I entered six of my books at once:

The results are actually pretty much the same. Looks like no matter what I'm writing, I use a lot of the same words. Particularly "like" and "know," for some reason.

Well, I take this as a sign that I should go back through my manuscripts and take out some of those words that I'm using way too much. 

So, my question of the day is: What are some words that you use too much? Have you ever used Wordle to find out––and if so, did the results surprise you?


  1. I've done this too! And I love Wordle, just because it's pretty. I have a lot of the same words as you: know, see, back (I don't get this one!), just, like (to a lesser extent), eyes (except eyes are actually a plot point in my book, so I'm letting myself off the hook). Also, recently, "though".

    I think you have to take it with a grain of salt though. "Like" is going to show up if you use similes. "Know" has a lot of uses too. I admit I probably overuse "just", but it's so useful! Wordle can help you pinpoint which words you might be overusing and thus you can keep that in the back of your mind when you're rereading/cutting. But unless these words are sticking out to you as you read, I wouldn't worry too much about them. And I wouldn't, say, go through a manuscript with the goal of reducing the occurrence of "know" by half or something.

    1. Yes, it is pretty! Haha well eyes aren't really a plot point in my book, I just refer to them a lot ... so I should probably cut back on eye descriptions. ;)

      Yeah, that occurred to me. It's probably because of so many similes. But, I probably shouldn't be overusing those in the first place. Anyway, I agree that some words you just need and therefore it's kind of pointless to cut them out. But then there are a lot of vague and/or telling words that could probably be cut down––words like "feel," "something," etc.

  2. I heard my teacher say that you are supposed to enter each word like this:

    Dana Dana Dana
    Google Google Google Google

    to make it bigger, and each word has to be on a separate row. Is that true? The way you're saying it, it doesn't sound right.

    1. No, the words don't have to be in separate rows. The size of the word is based on how much you use it. So, a word you use more frequently will appear larger in the collage. If you were making a collage using specific words and you wanted one word to be bigger than another––then yes, you could write the same word over and over again in order to make it larger. But if you copy and paste text, it works the same way.

    2. ohhh... Thanks for clearing it up.

  3. Hi!

    I decided to try that with a book of mine I am currently editing, and I had a lot of character names show up, the main source of conflict in the story being the biggest (Danny).

    After I removed the largest names, the words that stood out the most (most used, I guess) were "like" "Back" "know" "Eyes" and "just" in that order.

    It's really interesting to be able to see what words you use a lot. I think this is a cool little tool, especially for writers. :) Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi, Jadziab! You're quite welcome. I'm glad it helped you! :)

  4. Wow, this is great! Thank you for sharing, I can't wait to put in my novel :)

  5. Greetings!

    I'm hopping over from GUTGAA and thought I would start visiting blogs early. Nice to meet have a lovely blog!

    Donna L Martin

  6. Hi Donna! Thanks for stopping by. I'm looking forward to GUTGAA! :)

  7. Neat! I'll have to give Wordl a go.
    By the way, if you follow my blog, I'll follow yours!

    Casey Sean Harmon

  8. This looks so cool, will have to try this ASAP

  9. Wow, I've never come across this before but it looks brilliant! I'll definitely be giving it a go, thanks for getting the word out!


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