Sunday, July 13, 2008

Inflation stories as Wordles

Here's an interesting idea that my wife suggested. First, go to this site:

She said, "You've got to put some of your inflatable stories into this thing and see what happens." So I did -- I cut and pasted stories from my collection.

I ran a few of my stories through it and found, if nothing else, that I repeat certain words too much -- like "said." I should work on more creative attribution of dialogue! Main character names come up a lot too. It's actually a pretty analysis of your story after you've written it, to show you what and how you wrote from a completely different perspective.

It's funny, because stories with a greater vocabulary will not come up with the most titillating layouts -- the stories with less change in language will arguably make more exciting Wordles. I expected lots of "balloon" and "swelling" and stuff like that, but it turns out those words are the money shots in stories and generally aren't overused.

Try choosing "Maximum Words" under Layout and changing it to 75 or 50 words for a few stories; it gives the main words more impact.

By far my best story as a Wordle was Eating Light, which was my first and worst story.

Try it with your favorite stories and post your results.

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