New York Times  Bestselling Author

Cool New Toy

wordle

Want to waste some time? Go to Wordle and paste in something you’ve written. Wordle creates a word cloud displaying the words in your document according to how often you’ve used them. You can pick out any colors and fonts and layout you like. I’ve pasted the first chapter from Breaking the Silence (which you can read here if you like) into Wordle and created the above cloud. It’s definitely Laura’s story! Her five-year-old daughter, Emma, comes in a close second in this chapter, in which Laura’s father makes a deathbed request that she take care of a woman who is a stranger to her.

I can see how this could be a good tool to pick up overused words in my writing. I apparently use a lot of “eyes” and “hands”, at least in this chapter. My most annoying overused word is usually “winced”, and I’m glad not to see that here. My brother, Rob Lopresti, is also a writer and here’s what he wrote a while back in one of his blogs, which I found pretty funny:

First I check for the words I tend to overuse. They are usually the bits of physical punctuation that fit between lines of dialog, like frown, shrug, and sigh. (My sister Diane Chamberlain says that the characters in her novels tend to wince too much, which suggests that while being in one of my works is boring, being in hers is actually painful.)

LOL!

So anyway, I can see how this tool could be useful in catching overused words, but more than that, I think it’s fun and the results are kind of pretty. Have some time to waste? Hop over to Wordle, paste in your latest words of wisdom. Even if they’re not pretty on the written page, they’ll look pretty on your monitor!

10 Comments

  1. Rob Lopresti on November 29, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Thanks for the reminder, Diane. I’ll plug my latest story into Wordle and see what happens.

  2. Margo on November 30, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    I rarely have free time but Wordle would be fun to use if I were a writer…I want to comment on BREAKING THE SILENCE Diane…I read the 1st chapter and altho I read the book when it first came out some years ago, it was like reading a new novel all over again!!…my friends are going to love receiving this as gifts this year. (-O:

  3. Denise on November 30, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    That looks like fun!

  4. Chris Messineo on November 30, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    I love wordle!

  5. Diane Chamberlain on November 30, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    Margo, I’m glad B the S feels fresh and new to you. It did to me, too, when I reread it. LOL! Seriously, sometimes I can’t even remember my own stories and can’t wait to find out “what happens next.”

  6. Julie Kibler on December 1, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    So glad I got your newsletter today. I’ve been reading your blog by RSS for months and for some reason, I guess the name change unsubbed me and required a new subscription and I didn’t realize it. I thought you hadn’t been blogging much … (And of course, with the holiday hooplah, I just hadn’t thought about it too much!)

    Subscribed again and back in the loop! Wonder if there is any way to alert others who might have been unsubscribed if they don’t get your newsletter. I have no idea. Facebook and Twitter?

    I wordled my manuscript several weeks back and was horrified at some of my repeat words! It’s a great tool and fun, too!

  7. Diane Chamberlain on December 1, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Julie, thank you for alerting me to this! I checked my stats and it doesn’t look as though the blog usage took a dip during that time, but I’m sure if it impacted you, it impacted others. I’ll send a little Facebook and Twitter heads-up.

  8. Julie Kibler on December 1, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    Saw your FB shout out! 🙂 RSS readers don’t show up on your blog stats unless you have a stats program I don’t know about (let me know if you do!). Only those who actually point their browsers to it will show. You could have a whole legion of readers and never know it. It’s kind of a pain for the blogger not to know, but it is very convenient for readers not to have to go to the link every time. My feeds are delivered to Outlook and I read them as I have time.

    You might just check with your administrator and see if there’s a way to do a redirect from the old name for a while. I’m not sure there is. I’ve never seen this happen exactly.

  9. brenda on December 5, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    Can’t wait to get the new version. I just read the latest by Nora Roberts in the bride series…the book had “first time published on the front”…guess other authors have the same problem as you and Barbara Delinsky when your books are republished-readers think they are new…after two water heaters and much expense…I am on my way to hot water…that is a little thing compared to the rest of life…all of you have a good holiday…

  10. Diane Chamberlain on December 5, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Oh my yes. I’m not the only author worried about annoying readers by reissing older books. But it’s wonderful for those readers who are new to me and who never got a chance to read the books from the past.

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