12 June 2009


Okay, enough of the New York Times, right? Right.

So, here's something I discovered that I now love: wordle.

You can write something, paste in text or link to a website, and it will make pretty, colorful word clouds for you. The frequency of the words determines their size, and you can change the colors, fonts, orientation, etc.

This wordle above is from a recent post. So, you're probably thinking, that's great that you can now have word clouds (whoop dee doo), but what does one do with such a thing?

Well, as a writer, you could see which words you're using the most in your work. Which is important. It's a fun way to make sure you don't use juicy vocabulary repeatedly (no one wants to read about someone's pulchritudinous menagerie again and again-- or even once, really). Or you can catch the use of wimpy words like 'sort of' or 'actually' or other weakening fillers. I just did a search for 'felt' in the novel I'm working on and got rid of as many as I could (a great feeling). But back to word clouds.

You could also:

a. write a love note to someone and have it be all artsy fartsy,
b. break up with someone with a wordle and let them figure it out by using words like 'goodbye,' 'cheater' and 'leaving you' (just kidding-- please don't do that), or
c. procrastinate and hit 'Randomize' again and again until you get the desired combination of font, color and orientation while you should really be doing something else.

Not that I would know anything about that last one. Cough, cough.

But really, you could paste in your favorite poems/stories/chapters/articles/etc. to see which words are used most frequently (and then share the resulting word clouds with loved ones) or even make word art ransom notes, if you wanted to spice up your next kidnapping. You know, if you were an art-loving kidnapper. So, as I was saying, the possibilities for creative time-wasting are endless.

Have fun!

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