Friday, December 18, 2009

Quotation Commentary #4 - M. Twain

Substitute the word "just" for the word "very" in Twain's quote - and this quote becomes absolutely perfect for me. In my first draft of SHATTERED, the word "just" showed up 291 times. 291. EW.  Thankfully, aware of my addiction to the word, I've cut it down to around 150 at this point in my editing (aka three rounds through the manuscript so far).

Be aware of your own personal "very" words. "Like" is a common one. "Eyebrows" was another for me... (Don't ask... sigh.) 

If you aren't sure what your "veries" are - check out Wordle. Just paste your document in the textbox and click "Go". Most of you probably already know that it creates a word cloud from your most used words - the ones with higher counts appear larger. (Below is an example of one of my chapters from SHATTERED.)

But did you also know that it gives you a complete word count of every word in your text? Here's how to find the count: When you've created your word cloud, click on the "language" dropdown. Scroll all the way to the bottom and select "Show word counts...".  A box will pop up listing every single word in your text - and showing the frequency with which it's used! You can sort by name or by frequency.

(Just an FYI - it does count "Mom" and "mom" as two separate words - so capitalization plays a factor. If you want to know how many times you use the word "eyebrows" make sure you look for "eyebrows" and "Eyebrows"...)

♥ me


  1. That's funny. We considered "Shattered" as a title for my book. I really liked it and all it implied.

    I had a lot of "really" and "only" in my book. Among other things. Ha ha. Find and replace is a wonderful invention!

    Mark Twain had an editor?

  2. LOL your question is so funny! And - oh yeah, "really" was another big one for me... find and replace is fantastic :-)

    Great minds think alike for titles, huh?? ;-)

  3. Very is my very. Thank you for the link, I will be trying it out when I get to a point where I'm pulling out my hair and let you know if I have any uncommon "veries" in my MS.

    Oh, and artifacts? It's that common in your MS? I'd like to know more... :)

  4. I love Wordle! It is just very useful in so very many ways. I just wish more people were very appreciative like we are, Sara. Just keep passing along your very brilliant advice, and we'll just be very, very happy. ;-)

  5. I've heard of Wordle, but I haven't used it yet. That's another thing to add to my "to-do" list:)

    Well, we must be thinking alike or something. Just is my overly used word, too. I just never seem to notice it. See, there I go again:)

  6. Sara!

    I knew there was a reason I liked you so much! I'm a "just" fanatic too! I keep myself in check, but I'm a huge sucker for "just"!

    I could use the word "just" right now, but that would just be corny!!! ;)

    xoxo -- Hilary

  7. Hehe-I also discovered that I love the words low, quietly and slowly

  8. How have I never heard of this mystical Wordle? I shall try it today. Also, Tori Amos is playing on your blog right now so I'm a stick around sing. Maybe cry.

  9. *To sing. I MUST start proofing my comments. I do this crap all the time.

  10. Ooooh Sara...tag you're it! http://frankiediane.blogspot.com/2009/12/ive-been-tagged.html

  11. I think Wordle lets you make everything lower-case so you don't have to do the Mom/mom thing.

  12. Ohhh, will definitely have to check this out. Oddly, I have the sneaking suspicion that brow will get a lot of hits. Thanks for the idea!

  13. Great tip! I'm almost afraid to check it out, since, as you know, ignorance is bliss. I wonder what my pet words are??

  14. I love Wordle! But.. I didn't know about the word count feature. I'm a little addicted to very, really, seemed, but I'm working hard to overcome my addiction :)

  15. Wordle is one of our favorite writing tools! We are frequent abusers of the words just, look, and anyways among many, many others.

  16. I think I use "quiet" way too often in my poetry, essays and WIP. I need to try using Wordle now!

  17. One of your most frequently used words is 'eyebrows'?? You crack me up, Sara.

    Must check Wordle to find out what I use most. Would hate to think! :)

  18. Haha, I've got a couple wordles saved on my computer for my various novels. PB is a pretty funny one; here's the low-down on my overused words:

    Although voice and opera I think I should be exempt from counting, since it is a book about an *opera* house and music ;)

  19. Angie Kate - LOL artifacts... well, you can't always have magic with OUT artifacts, can ya?

    Shannon O - I'm so blushing... I don't think anyone's ever referred to my advice as brilliant before :-) Thanks!!!

    Melissa - you MUST try wordle! It only takes two seconds and it's JUST so addicting and helpful!

    Hilary - aw, it's like were wordie twins ;-) Just is just such a great word... sigh, haha

    Oooooh Frankie - quitely is an old fave of mine too!

  20. misadventuresofmommy - tori's song gets me choked up every time I hear it. So beautiful!!

    Iapetus999 - THANKS for the tip! I will definitely look into how that works. Wordle just got even cooler :-)

    Carol, I can't believe you haven't tried it out yet!

    Elle - if you decide to check it out, you must come back and share!

    Jemi... your addiction - I love it :-) Isn't it funny that writers really do get addicted to certain words? Even KNOWING how much I overuse the word "just" I just can't write certain sentences without using it. It's like I need my fix, haha.

  21. Lisa & Laura - Look is another one of mine as well! But thank goodness for wordle so we know what to find & replace ;-)

    Terresa - at least it's not "quietly" adverbs are so much worse, I think! (And quietly is a big one of mine)

  22. Q - I'm a weirdo with the word eyebrow... what can I say? ;-) Come back and share when you wordle your own document!!

    Alexandra - I'm SURE that voice and opera should be exempt! That'd be like "vampire" coming up for Twilight. haha

  23. I did a Wordle a few months ago and saw my overused words were "just" "like" "back" and "going". Oh, and the hero's name, as it's from the heroines POV!



Yay! I love when you have things to add :)