I recently discovered word clouds – graphical representations of the words in a piece of text, scaled by the number of times they occur, and arranged in aesthetically interesting ways. They occur frequently in the sidebars of blogs and forums, but we can also generate word clouds for anything, thanks to www.wordle.net. All you need to do is copy and paste your text into the text box on the Create page, and hit the Go button. That’s what I did with the first draft of Hunted, and this is what I got:
Now, there’s a whole bunch of things you can change, both aesthetically (font, colours, word orientations etc) and informationally (number of words shown, suppressing common words etc). You can also get complete word counts (the word ‘the’ occurs 5499 times, for example).
Looking at the cloud for Hunted, my four main characters (Flick, Shea, Adam, Rosie) are obviously large, but there are some other, smaller words that appear to be rather prominent, and maybe deserve to be looked at in the second draft to see if they are being over-used (back, just, looked, around, like, well…)