One of my links in the sidebar is to a neat site called Wordle. Don’t hate me, but despite recommending it for months, I hadn’t used it myself. You see, my computer had software issues.
Then, before Christmas, my old mainframe had a fortuitous meltdown. The result? I haz a shiny new machine that I pet and fondle, and which works so fast I don’t have time to make a pot of coffee while it considers saving a document.
Anyway, have you folks seen what Wordle does? It takes a website or string of text and makes a word cloud, similar to the tag cloud I also have in my sidebar. The more often I use a word, the larger the font size becomes.
For instance, this is what it saw when I fed in my website address:
Of course, one must be prepared to read between the lines to understand the gestalt of this site. But you are Tartitude readers. You are educated in nuance and irony. Hence, you know that “sunshine” and “undercurrents” are really code for global warming. Similarly, “kept heroine” and “mint shower” are references to the moral decay of our society.
Let’s do another one, shall we? Here’s a random chapter from my work-in-progress. I’ve removed the characters’ names to keep the image unaffected by inescapable proper nouns:
Wow. Bench? Helmet?
Chin? Hot stuff, huh? Bet you wish RMH was finished, agented, purchased by a kick-ass publisher, and being escorted by armed guard to the bookstores even now.
All jesting aside, though, do you see a pattern here? I’m happy to say I don’t see any adverbs in my formal writing, but what the hell is “one” doing hogging up all the room in both images? I seldom use that word. Seldom. In fact, I’m offended at the very idea I’d—
See how useful this application might be to a writer? From this small exercise, I’ve learned to guard against overuse of a few precious words. Also, I’m going to work hard — ferociously hard people — to bring you quality content. Then I, too, might have this kind of image to claim in my portfolio:
That’s from the Huffington Post.
So have you used Wordle yet? Did you learn anything useful from it about your own writing patterns? And finally, I’m not making any commitments here, but which few words — if I were to become bold and scheming and playful — would you give a great deal to see become as large as the “just” in my middle image? (Please don’t make them be “turgid” and “member”.)