Monday, January 24, 2011
What is Wordle? Ask Guest Blogger, Dale Mayer
Please help me welcome back my friend and fellow author, Dale Mayer. You may or may not remember that Dale is one of the finalists in the Writing With The Stars contest. There were ten finalists in the beginning, and now there are four, and the winner gets a contact with Kensington. Dale is a single mother of four and she's an excellent writer, so please take a moment and vote for her. She's here today to tell us about a few gadgety things she's discovered to help her recognize her overused words and other useful things. So without further ado, here's Dale:
As a writer there are many tools available to us to give us what we need to make us the best we can be. However, there are some lesser known programs that are just plain fun. Some of my favorite of these unique programs are generator sites. One of my favorites is:
WORDLE - Off their own website, the creators of Wordle consider this a toy. It generates ‘word clouds’ from text that you give it. The clouds give the words that show up the most in your text more prominence. These clouds can be tweaked with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The word clouds you create from this program are yours to keep. They are printable, savable and or however you like. But, you say, why do I care about a Wordle? There are practical and creative uses for a Wordle. Let’s start with the practical.
•You can enter the text you want into this program. So enter your first scene – your work-in-progress– in its entirety. Then create a Wordle. Look at it. Is it what you expected? Take a close look at the size of the words. Are some of them huge? Those are the words that you have used the most often in your work. Did you know that you’d given those particular words that much prime time in your manuscript? Are they relevant words or those meaningless filler words we often use too much: that, apparently, or how about very.
•It will show you the overuse of certain words, the frequency of words and by the same measure – the words that only show up rarely. That in itself is valuable. The most prominent words will show up huge and others go smaller as they are used less often. It’s really fun when a theme shows up in your work that you hadn’t recognized. It was written in but you hadn’t seen it in your own words – until now.
•The Wordle example here is actually my website. In this way, I can see the message I’m sending and people are receiving in a unique way. It’s certainly not necessary to do this but it’s a great way to check how you are marketing yourself.
There is also a creative benefit to using this program.
•There is nothing quite like seeing your story show up in a visual to stir the creative juices. The pictures are often incredibly inspiring and will appear in many different forms. It often you can sentences or even a story to from the image.
A second and very similar program is called TAGXEDO. This program is like an upscale version of Wordle. I like both programs and use the differences to suit my needs. With Tagxedo you can do more customization of the end result.
Some of the customization allows you to remove common words, combine related words, combine identical words, normalize or moderate the frequency that words show up. Also there are visual themes that you can have your words turned into. It offers more customization than Wordle and it doesn’t matter – I love them both.
These are just toys but ones with both a practical and visual affect on our creativity and besides...they’re fun!
Me again...now go vote!