Every writer has crutch words—ones they use too often.
When I gave a manuscript to my friend Liz, she pointed out that I had a lot of justs and a lot of wells. So I went through my 95,000 word document and found almost 260 justs. I cut out 2/3 of them. I didn’t have as many wells, but I got rid of quite a few too.
You can search you Word document and find how many numbers of a certain word you have, but you might not know what those problem words are. For that, now you can go to the internet to use programs that create word clouds (or tag clouds–I’ve found several names).
An example of a word cloud is on the right side of this blog. It is a visual representation of text—or in my case blog tags (categories). On these websites you can upload your text (or blog page) and it will find the most used words and put them in a fancy design. If the word is bigger, it’s been used more often.
This is a really great application because it pulls out your most used words. I went back into Frosty and did this and here are my results of the top twenty used words—the one at the top being the most used.
don’t, going, Lana, looked, wasn’t
Mom, couldn’t, wasn’t
Asked, room, school, Sydney, wanted, Jim, door, eyes
So with this, now I will go back and look for a few of these words and try use different ones. So far I’ve done looked. I went from 183 to 38. And with going, I went from 195 to 61.
I’m glad that just and well didn’t show up, even in the top fifty. That’s a good thing, but I will search some of the others in this list to using better more descriptive words.
If you want to do one of these fun clouds, just search word cloud or tag cloud and you’ll come up with a number of sites. It’s fun.