Well, you finished the first draft of your story. Now what? One of the things I like to do is create a word cloud. A word cloud takes a group of words (such as those used in a story) and puts them in a huge pile. The size of each word depends on how many times it was used. For example, in the first word cloud below for John 1, the most used words are “thou”, “God”, “saith”, and “John”. In the second example, you can see that after the name of one of the main characters, the word I used most often was “like”. This second example show me two things: I used the word “like” more than a teenage girl and that I should use a different word when I compare things.
Why do this? As I stated before, it can help you easily see if you are overusing a word. It can also give you an idea of which characters you put more importance on. Give it a try. It may give you a new perspective on your writing and your story.
There are several different options when I comes to creating a word cloud. Just google that term and you’ll find several sites. However, my favorite site is Wordle. This gives you all kinds of options, such as what colors to use, the orientation of the words, and more. Unfortunately, if you want to save the word cloud to your computer you need to take a screenshot.
John Paul Wohlscheid is the author of Don’t Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth and Trouble is My Client. Both feature a hard-boiled detective in the tradition of old-time radio shows. The author blogs at Writer’s Soapbox.