Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for Useful & Underrated


Two things today-- and update (Ooo! Also a U word!) and something useful.

Have you guys heard of Wordle before? It's pretty cool. You paste some words into the website, and it makes an awesome little word cloud of those words. Then you can use it for your plethora of world cloud needs.

But wait! It has a totally USEFUL and UNDERRATED purpose as well! Ohmygosh. This is so cool, I can hardly stand it. Okay. That little box where you paste in text to create your word cloud? YOU CAN PASTE IN ANY AMOUNT OF TEXT. Including--- yep, you've got it--- your entire book.

So why is this so cool? Well, because it takes out the common words (like the, a, and), and then chooses the most common words in your book to make the word cloud out of. The more common the word, the bigger it is in the cloud.

Sooooooo, you can see which words you overuse! In a fun way! Here's mine for THROUGH THE BOMB'S BREATH:


It kind of makes me giddy to see those words that are specific to my book in a form like this. Of course, some of the biggest ones are my main characters. (Although, funnily enough, not my MC, Hope, since it's first person.) It's pretty expected to have those be the largest / most frequently used. But I can see that wow. I use just, looked, like and back a lot. Then I can go through my ms, do a search for those words, and look at each one to see if they really should be there, or if I truly am over-using them.

See? Totally useful! Check it out. Go to Wordle.net and click on create. Then play and have fun! (Because really-- it's totally fun. AND productive. :))

On to the update!

I finished first round edits! There is much joy and celebration and lifting of weights off shoulders going on here. Whew! It was tough. My editor is brilliant, and pushed me in ways I didn't even know I could go. I am so excited with the changes I made! It occurred to me before I sent it off to her on Sunday that she's probably just as nervous to get them as I was to send them. I mean there are a million ways an author can mess up edits! It's kind of a comforting thought, though, to know that you're both working toward the same goal, and you're both nervous. Makes it easier to click send.

And, in case you were wondering about general process stuff, and where things fit in a year-and-ten-month process like mine, they chose a cover artist! I'm not going to tell you who it is, because things can always go wrong, and there's always a small possibility that they'll have to change artists part way in. But I will say that all the members of the cover team, as well as marketing and sales, all were unanimous in their choice. (Which almost never happens.) You know, not having control over your cover is a scary thing. When my editor sent me his name and links, I can't tell you how relieved I was! I screamed, cried tears of joy and relief, and danced all at the same time. I have no doubt that whatever he does will be genius.

Now I'm going to stop thinking about that, because seeing a cover is still months away, and thinking about it makes it hard to wait. And now that I've rambled on and made you forget all about Wordle, here's your reminder to go check it out! (Make sure you play with the fonts. Because: fun!)

41 comments:

dbstevens said...

Yes! So, so useful! I'm glad you walked me through the "how" of its usefulness, though, because I probably would have dismissed it saying I don't have time to look into it. But I get it, thanks to you, and I love it, thanks to you. Putting it on my list of things to do tonight, after kiddos are snug bugs in their beds. Looking forward to it.

J. A. Bennett said...

I can't wait to see your cover either, I bet it's going to be totally epic! I've used Wordle before and I also had a huge JUST sitting on the screen. Made me really evaluate myself when I use that word.

Cortney Pearson said...

Aaaah! A cover, how exciting! And glad you made it through those edits! I've never done a Wordle, but it sounds like fun.

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

The Wordle thing sounds great! I may try it when I have a minute... Oh and Very best of luck with the book - I'm sure the cover will be just brill!

Rhonda Parrish said...

Yay for finishing your first round of edits :)

Thank you for pointing me toward Wordle, I'm looking forward to playing with it. In fact, I already have it open in another tab ;)

~ Rhonda Parrish

Annalisa Crawford said...

Well done on finishing the edits.

I had no say in my cover - yes, scary, but you also have to figure they know what they're doing. In my case, I loved it - so I hope you do too!

Colin Smith said...

I found Wordle a little while ago through a post on someone else's blog (sorry, I don't remember who). And I completely concur, it's an awesome (and fun) tool! I put my novel into it and found it to be... educational. :)

Congrats on completing the edits, Peggy! :)

Kristine said...

Congrats on edits! Woo hoo!

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Peggy, you have lots of good news in today's post. Congratulations, and thanks for the Wordle tip!

I really liked your post on titles too.

Thanks so much for stopping by to see me,

Kathy M.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Yay for all of your happy news!! :D :D :D And I'll definitely be checking out Wordle. ;)

Ryan Stuart Lowe said...

I've put lots of things into Wordle over the years: dissertation chapters, essays, and yup, even drafts of novels. For me, I especially enjoy seeing the proportions of how often characters are mentioned in the course of the storyline.

Angela Cothran said...

So So So EXCITING! I can't wait to see the cover :) And how cool is Wordle! I'm so checking it out!!!

Carrie-Anne said...

Congratulations on finishing edits and finding an artist!

I discovered Wordle a few weeks ago, and have loved using it to make images for various manuscripts. I'm glad it handles even superlong documents, even my 335K Russian novel and my 387K contemporary historical Bildungsroman. I've yet to copy and paste in all 45 chapters plus the epilogue of my 406K Russian novel sequel yet, but I'd love to see what it creates when I'm ready to edit that and have it all pasted together in a master document.

Jenny S. Morris said...

I had no idea you could do the wordle with so much TEXT. I'm going to do it right now!

Yay!!!! For copy and edit and cover artist. SO cool.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I put my query into Wordle a while back. That was so fun. Never considered doing my whole book. lol

Congrats on liking your cover artist. You're right, too, covers are SO important.

S. L. Hennessy said...

I've never heard of this before, but I am DEFINITELY checking into it now!

Patti said...

I love Wordle. It can also help you figure out what words you over use.

Christine Rains said...

Wordle is awesome! And congratulations on finishing the first round of edits.

Angela Brown said...

I'm going to have to check Wordle out. It can be so helpful to find out what words are overused. Afterall, I wouldn't want HAD to be bigger than a secondary character name :-)

And I'm so glad for you. Sounds like you've got a great cover artist team. Can't wait to see how it turns out :-)

The Golden Eagle said...

I have to try putting something I wrote into Wordle. I see those images all over the place.

Congratulations on finishing your edits! :) And it sounds like you'll have a great cover artist for your book.

JeffO said...

Unparalleled use of the unusual 'u'. Congratulations on another step in the process.

Carrie Butler said...

I play around on Wordle, too! You're right. It's a great tool. :)

Oo, I can't wait to see how your cover turns out!

Nick Wilford said...

I thought it was just a cute thing to look pretty. Never realised how useful it was! I'll have to check it out!

Congrats on the edits and the artists. :)

Leigh Covington said...

Wordle is SO COOL! And so addicting! I can mess around on there forever!!!

Also - congrats on the finishing the first round of edits! That's awesome!

Nicole Mc said...

Yay for you for getting those edits done. I would be celebrating big time! :)

Susan Kane said...

That is so cool! I will check it out!

And congrats! on your work seeing publication.

Joshua said...

Hmm...I wonder if that word cloud could help a writer come up with a title based on the best words?

Romance Reader said...

Would love to see the cover! Exciting! Congratulations!

Lan said...

Wordle is the coolest thing ever! I am totally going to play around with it all day now :) I just tried it based on my current MS and my MC's name doesn't come up at all!! That's a bit concerning...Congrats on finishing the first round of edits. I can't wait to read your book.

Cherie Larkins said...

I love Wordle. :)

So excited for you, Peggy! I bet your book cover will be gorgeous. *crossing fingers, right?* :D

Z said...

a) I LOVE wordle! My professor introduced me to it last year when he plugged all of our enormous British Lit anthology (!!!) into Wordle and came up with the coolest word cloud. I wish I had it, because it was brilliant.
b) I'm so proud of you for getting through those edits!
c) Are you sure you don't need any more beta readers for book? I'm dying to read it almost as much as I'm dying to see it's cover!
d) you are plowing through the alphabet in an incredible way! (this is my proud face)

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

I used Wordle for the first time about a month ago. Such fun and so enlightening.

Congratulations on the good news with the cover! Exciting!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Congratulations on finishing your edits and on your upcoming cover release. Can't wait to see it!

Wordle is so much fun. I've played with it before. I couldn't figure out how to print my wordle cloud...I'll have to try again. :)

Nicole said...

We just launched a campaign at work that relies on design very similar to Wordle!

Valerie Hartman said...

Love Wordle. Actually used it to analyze/compare the introduction and conclusion of a political book from the late 1700's. Amazing way to break down the tone of the sections by seeing the repeating terms. Put that on the list of 100 uses you may never need to know!

David Macaulay said...

Wordle seems mind blowing. I'm not sure I'd be brave enought to use it. That's great re the book progress.

Kate O'Mara said...

Wordle is so fun!
Following #463
Kate
http://whenkateblogs.blogspot.com/

Dawn M. Hamsher said...

Peggy,
Thanks for sharing about Wordle...that's cool!

Awesome on your book. Thank you for the update!

BTW, you commented on my "T"weet post. You could always Tweet about cookies. Just a suggestion. LOL.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Ah! So it's a man! That narrows it right down :) I know exactly how you feel about art - it's even more of a mail-biter when you write picture books! I have heard about Wordle from Kelly over at Land Of The Librarian, but never tried it. I love how you used it!

Tara Tyler said...

i always wondered where people got those! thanks!

& congrats on the editing!

Terri Bruce said...

I LOVE Wordle - not only have I used it the way you suggest, I also made a wordle for one of my stories to create a graphic for the teaser/blurb on my website - the story is a "future noir" so Wordle gave me kind of the stark feel I wanted. Also, when I've had a novel that was cross or multi-genre, I've plugged it into Wordle to try and get a feel for which genre it landed more firmly in, which helped me write the query (also helped me to figure out the important themes/elements to focus on in the query as wel).