Since I’m still in the whole second/third draft period with Outsider, I decided to share the wordcloud for my upcoming book. I learned about wordclouds from Scott Westerfeld, who’s the author of the Uglies trilogy, and who’s blog I should frequent way more because it’s awesome. Anyway, he used it as a way to discover words that he might be overusing.
If you take a quick glance at my wordcloud (or a long glance, it’s so beautiful, go ahead, stare as long as you like ^_^) you can immediately tell that ‘Niko’ is the biggest word. No surprise there she’s the main character and since The Outsider Chronicles is written in the third person Niko’s name appears a lot.
Second is ‘Ben’, again no real surprise, as Niko and Ben are currently an item and since I’m concentrating a little more on his story arc this time around his name gets bandied around a lot.
In fact seeing many of my characters names loom large in this wordcloud is not that surprising, it’s mostly a reflection on how many times they appear in Outsider.
Once I move past all of that, I’ll begin to see the more insidious words, the ones that I might not have meant to be so prominent, words like ‘though’ or ‘like’ which could mean I use too many similes and metaphors and might be something I want to cut out.
The word ‘eyes’ is large as well, which mean I use eyes to describe an emotion too much (her eyes widened, his eyes narrowed, they rolled their eyes), which lessens the impact I want a scene to have and causes it not to feel as fresh as I would like. Interestingly enough, ‘looked’ and ‘glanced’ are much smaller than usual as I try to scale back on relying on eyes to hint at emotion.
Luckily, ‘just’ is much smaller than in my previous wordclouds and that means I’m not just using it as a throwaway word just to fill up the space anymore (← see what I did just there? >_<)
Since Outsider is set inside the city of Cherai and there aren’t so many Slithers coming inside, their presence isn’t as big as usual (I don’t think that will be the case in book 4)
Of course, a wordcloud is more of a cosmetic approach to writing and can’t tell me which scenes need more work, but it is a good way to get an overall picture of my writing and clean up a majority of my sentences.
Not to mention it looks really nice on my wall.
By the way, for the whole month of July Niko and Harm are on sale at Smashwords.com. Use the coupon code SW100 at checkout and get Niko for free, and the code SSW50 gets Harm on your device for half the price!