Nathan Bransford, Author


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stupendously Ultimate Word Cloud

While you're waiting for me to finish reading the entries and decide on the finalists, I thought you might enjoy this word cloud of all the entries. I pasted all 2,651 comments/entries (which translated to about 247,000 words) into the word cloud generator on wordle.net.

Here's the result:



The prominence of "like" is a reflection of how many similes there were in the first paragraphs.

I'll be back tomorrow with the finalists!






131 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow..thats cool....

LynnRush said...

Oh wow....

Orange Slushie said...

that would look nice on a wall

Elizabeth said...

That is awesome. I love wordle.

Anonymous said...

Like, cool!

Cara Powers said...

If I ever enter one of your contests, I'll be sure not to have a simile in the first paragraph. Ikes!

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

It's kinda pretty.

Sara ♥ said...

oooooh. that wordle.net site is kind of cool :) I just pasted my MS into it... Interesting feedback, ha

Danyelle said...

Awesome! :)

jscolley said...

Were they all 'just like one' another? ;-) Hope not.

loriG said...

So, like that means like we must like that word! Sorry, couldn't resist. That's amazing, and very cool.

Livia said...

OMG GBTW!

:-)

Laurel Amberdine said...

Immensely neat!

Though, I can't decide if that means these are good or bad words to use in an opening paragraph...

Merc said...

Huh. That's really interesting... I thought I had noticed a lot of similes, lol!

Wendy Sparrow said...

That is AWESOME! I'm going to need to play with that.

Hey, Nathan, once you're done separating the wheat from the chaff (the paragraphs from the comments,) can you post the final count of paragraphs? We have a bet going.

(I went with 2350, so I'm hoping there were a ton of comments.)

Melony said...

Wow...you're awesome Mr. Bransford! I love the word cloud..even if all the words in my paragraph are in it *snicker snicker* Ok..not all...

Nathan Bransford said...

wendy-

Oh, I'm not doing that -- too much time. I'd imagine it's somewhere around 2400-2500 though.

Joanne Sher said...

SOOOO neat. (and can I ask - expecting an answer - of how MANY will be chosen? Just curious.)

Ink said...

Hey, that is my paragraph! I'm totally suing wordle.

Donna Hole said...

Like it.

Nathan Bransford said...

joanne-

I'm not sure yet.

Amanda said...

Um, so I think that's the coolest thing I've ever seen. Fo' sho'.

T.C Graham said...

Proud to say I used none of those words.

jjdebenedictis said...

Three novels' worth of first paragraphs.

I've nothing else to say; I'm just quietly boggling at that.

Liam said...

I love wordle!

Kate said...

Average paragraph length was 93 words? Woof.

Julia said...

Wow! Looking at this wordle, I think I might win a prize for the most cliched first paragraph (and that's out of 2500?)
I am infinitely proud of myself. :)

Sarah Laurenson said...

If we put all those first paragraphs together in the right order, will we have a trilogy? Can you imagine a book with 2K+ authors? Talk about a royalty nightmare. ;-)

Mike said...

More metaphors please.

Mike said...

I like that idea of creating a book from this pool. We put it up for bid and the first paragraph is from the person willing to pay the most. They descend in order of bid value thereafter.

Amanda said...

Haha! Coolbeans!

Amanda said...

Oh, and I'm proud to say, my entry did not include one 'like' (I checked). Go me!

Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! said...

too friendly and not vicious enough...

Q said...

I think every writer should use wordles to see what words they use the most. I have, and am attempting to rein in my use of "just" and "clearly."

T. Anne said...

Aren't we purdy? ;)

ChristaCarol said...

Haha, very entertaining. And interesting. And I'm guilty, I have a like in mine.

But I am convinced, Nathan must have a clone. Or maybe he has a special power he's keeping from us. Or, he could just be completely insane to do all that he does.

Nathan, do you ever forget things with all that you do? :P My brain would be complete mush at the end of the day.

Kristan said...

Completely useless and yet fascinating!

Dara said...

Very cool!

Really looking forward to reading the finalists tomorrow :)

Polenth said...

The odd thing with the simile idea... lots of like similes, but not many as similes. People are hating on poor as.

Susan Quinn said...

Am I the only one tempted to do Wacky Word Scrabble with this?

When I first looked in his eyes years ago, even then I thought, "Two people, but just one mind." My body knew, my head never could go back. Now, like a long forgotten door, I know I have found a way around time, to him.

Ok, off to procrastinate doing something else . . .

Sage said...

Okay, so I have five of those words, but none of the really bigs one

Stephanie L. McGee said...

Susan, that was awesome.

Best of luck, Nathan, with deciding on your finalists!

Kristen said...

Interesting way to look at the paragraphs. And I agree that it is rather pretty.

Bobbie said...

That's hilarious. And it made me go back to my first chapter to delete "like"... the simile is now a metaphor. Better? :-)

Richard Mabry said...

Like, I just checked my entry, man, and, like, that word wasn't, like, in there. Whew.

annerallen said...

I heart Susan Quinn. Brilliant.

Amber Hamilton said...

If everyone wrote one paragraph of a continuous story, your next list of blog comments could be a bestseller! LOL

E.D. Lindquist said...

Like? Uh-oh, I'm guilty!

wendy said...

Not only are you wading through the hundreds of thousands of words, but you've found time to do an extra (ingenious) posting as well. This blog is seriously addictive.

This could be my egocentricity speaking, but I always get the feeling whenever I come to this blog that somebody cares, not only about me as a writer and a person but about everyone here. In a blogverse where snarky and narky often rule, this is a little piece of heaven.

Ash. Elizabeth said...

i've never seen anything like that before. . .(geek alert) sadly, that made my day because it's so darn cool. computers are geniuses.

pippa said...

Is it wrong to feel a sense of accomplishment to check your paragraph and verify that you did NOT use the most popular word?

Ash. Elizabeth said...

darn. just realized the word always was in my and it's on the generator.

Anonymous said...

"eyes" and "hands." I used both of those!

Rachel Grant said...

247,000 words = 2.5 full length novels. I don't envy your reading tonight.

Brian Crawford said...

I didn't see "starfish" on there; at least I have that going for me.

Ted said...

Hard to believe "sword" isn't in there somewhere.

Sarah Olutola said...

New fav site :D

julieduck said...

Like, omigod!

- Julie

Jan Markley said...

I 'wordled' my blog a while ago. Very cool. Check it out.

http://janmarkley.blogspot.com/2009/10/wordle.html

lotusgirl said...

Happy reading! Whew! No similes in mine. Yes!

Mira said...

LOL.

Nathan, you're so much fun. :)

Paige said...

Susan--your word cloud/word scramble thing made my night! I love the way your mind works.

I'm new to this blog (Susan sucked me in!) and I have to say Nathan--I'm with Wendy that you are a rare upbeat and friendly voice in a sea of people trying to out mean each other to prove how smart and above-it-all they are. I also agree with all the people who said you're crazy to do this. Long live the crazies of the world!
Paige

Tina Spear said...

That's the coolest thing - I so needed this after a stressful day.

Too Cute to be Very Interesting said...

So "like" is the most common word. But what were my eyes drawn to immediately? The fact that it says "three way" on the middle right. Snicker snicker.

andy said...

Can't wait to see who wins!

Aimee States said...

WHEN DO YOU SLEEP, MAN?!?

Andrew Jack said...

Awesome, love the word cloud!

Good luck everyone

Kristi said...

You had so much spare time while reading 2,500 entries that you made a word cloud? Did you write another book tonight as well? I think you have a twin brother and the two of you sit back and laugh over how you amaze everyone with your "productivity." Yes, I used quotes - I'm tired. I wish I had your energy, Nathan.

Literary Cowgirl said...

I'm, going to be a maverick and say LIKE is a damn fine word and I am glad it was prominent. Your first paragraph is generally only a few sentences long. You save half the words you would have needed by making a comparison to something familiar.The goal is to get the reader as immersed in your writing as possible as soon as possible. A decent, non-cliche simile does just the trick. (I'm not just saying that because my first sentence used one, either).

And Nathan, how do you do it? Read the entries and paste them into a fancy tool. Wow! I am amazed. Amazed, not kb.

Literary Cowgirl said...

Oh, and anyone who wants to call me out on the carpet, here's some ammo:

Gypsy's skin crawled like she'd been pickled in whiskey.

Yes, I used a character's name, too.
Now, peck away.

Word recognition: wilie- what the boys get on a Sat night without a date.

Matera the Mad said...

I do not have "like" in my first paragraph neener neener

DebraLSchubert said...

I love wordle, and it's great to see a combo of our collective entries. Maybe we should all sing "Kumbaya" together? Or not...

mkcbunny said...

This is so much fun, and we're not even to the voting yet. I can't believe we got a "commercial break" bit of entertainment while we wait for the finalists.

Best blog ever.

[word ver =flahshon. Trendy clothes that come and go .]

Drew Power said...

Did you omit articles such as 'the'?

Whirlochre said...

This would make a great motif on a pair of bathing trunks...

Nathan Bransford said...

drew-

Wordle does that automatically.

Also, I'd like to state for the record that I have nothing against the word "like" provided it is followed by a very good simile.

Veronica Barton-Dean said...

So, here it is 2 o'clock in the morning and I finally finished reading all the paragraphs. First off, I would like to say thank you for such a great contest. Next, for all of amazing talent that lie between every word. The thing I like most about writers is how unique we all are. We could be given the same sentence to start with and each of us would come up with something different. We are creators of our own worlds and universes and I consider myself lucky to be part of it.

Thank you Nathan for allowing me to be inspired by these wonderful people:)

Xiexie said...

Veronica that was beautiful. Kudos.

Not related to anything my word verification is daggisma . I like it.

Andrew said...

247,000 words? Pah. That's only 86% of the first draft of my first novel!

That's about 1 chapter in "The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion" by H.Darger

Though even I won't read something THAT huge

Sarah said...

Like totally cool, (like the weather here in the midwest, not.)

Regan Leigh said...

Ha! Susan, we are SO on the same wave length. :) I did a paragraph on AW with the list, except I tried using only the words in the cloud. It felt like using the magnet phrases you put on refrigerators. I came up with...


Just like one time, back around three long years past, I opened my eyes and found one dead body. Two thoughts came across my mind. The woman knew everything now and the blood was on my hands. I had left the door open.

Completely awful, but oh so much fun. ;)

Maya / מיה said...

Susan and Regan, hilarious!! I was hoping someone would do that. :) I think it's scary how similar your opening paragraphs sound to a lot of our entries (including mine, probably).

Then again, the words in the cloud aren't necessarily bad, just common. Maybe the secret to a brilliant first paragraph is to average everyone's first paragraphs, like generating a beautiful face by averaging the faces of a ton of ordinary-looking people.

I'm going for 97-word first paragraphs from now on. :)

brizmus said...

This is hilarious and awesome!

bigwords88 said...

Bonus points to anyone whose paragraph has all of the words in the word cloud present and correct.

I was gonna make a bitchy comment about the fact that Dan Brown wouldn't have a chance of winning this, but something so obvious would be beneath me.

Linguista said...

Finalists tomorrow, did you say? How do you do it? Wow!

Alina said...

That's pretty amazing. I'm glad the prominence of "like" was from similes and not, like, you know...

I went to a writing conference recently where I was introduced to Wordle as a way to pinpoint your favorite (overused) words in your MS. Plus, the result just looks cool!

Richard Lewis said...

Much blood! Man watched. Little hands, cold eyes. Dark small door, one last death..

Chris Eldin said...

That's really nice of you, Nathan. Thank you for everything you're doing!
:-)

reader said...

Crap, I can't get it to work with one of my ms, because my computer blocks it. Fun though.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Yay, no likes in mine. The longest paragraph (that I noticed) was 540 words.

Melanie Avila said...

This is hilarious! I don't have like, but I do have BACK.

Anonymous said...

haha that is pretty cool.

--Kaneya Naran

Eden Glenn said...

Oh my! Another new toy to play with. Wild. Love the paragraphs made with the target words too. Creativity abounds.

Wordle art for my wall?

Karen said...

Ooooh...new contest idea: best first paragraph someone can come up with using the wordle words.

CKHB said...

I love Wordle. I blogged about how it can be used as a tool for writers to discover trends in their own writing... like overuse of similes, perhaps?

J. Nelson Leith said...

Word that I am most surprised to see in the word cloud?

"removed"

Santa said...

Nathan, 'like' has become such an annoying word for me, particularly when used ad nauseum by my tween, that any good similies following it become null and void.

Other than that - I've no qualms with the word. I love how Wordle does the scramble.

carolynyalin said...

That's a great tool to see if you overuse a word.

Lucinda said...

That is very interesting. I have put the link in my favorites just for fun.

I normally use MS Word searching tools to locate repetitive words in my manuscripts. After a word count of a certain word, I go on a hunt-and-destroy mission. It works quite well.

One thing I have learned in all the studies, rewrites, advice, and writing forums is that there is no forbidden words. No word is bad unless it is used incorrectly or too frequently.

I like the Wordle site. I may play there later...when I have more time.

(I like...but not like I)

(He is like a frog...He resembles a frog.)

word ver: exhea. Leaving here would be exhea'

Lucinda said...

Alas...seeing as I cannot find an edit button here.

"...is no forbidden words." should read, "...are no forbidden words."

(blush)

word ver: anasedin. I wonder what Ana set in?

Reesha said...

Argh. Not another one.
I was up until 4am playing with wordle. :D

It's such a fun tool. Great for figuring out which character is truly my main character (most mentioned) in my story, and good for identifying themes I didn't know were there.

Karla said...

There were quite a few entries removed by the author. Not surprising, though. I can think of a few contests I've entered and later wished I could yank that piece of writing back. (Sometimes immediately after I hit 'submit')

Cat Woods said...

And here I thought like was a result of tween's talking quasi-valley girl...

Andrew the author said...

Has anyone called dibs on compiling all those first paragraphs into one story made of nothing but hooks?... Albeit a long, confusing story.

Anonymous said...

Wow. That's so cool!

Peri1020 said...

I saw this site on another blog some months ago but lost the link. Now I have it again! Thanks so much for posting it.

P.S. Just checked...not a single "like" in my paragraph.

Rowenna said...

Wordle = new toy for me to play with instead of working. Incredible!

Anonymous said...

I just pasted all of the comments onto wordle. Very beautiful.

PatriciaW said...

What an interesting way to discover what words are most prominent in a manuscript. If "like" or "know" or "realized" or "but" stick out, bad news.

Bill Mabe said...

Frame that.

Since "vampire" was conspicuously absent, I'll be sending you a query any day for my novel, "Way Better than Twilight."

Amber Lough said...

Beautiful.

Lucy Woodhull said...

I enjoy the fact that "dead" and "body" are in that cloud. Ya'll are a bloodthirsty bunch! Makes me think I need to kill off more characters... maybe the one who uses "like" too much.

Chuck H. said...

Veronica Barton-Dean said "We could be given the same sentence to start with and each of us would come up with something different." Does anyone else smell a contest in that?

Word Ver: protork - well, I've never actually been against torks.

Jana said...

Love it!

Mind you, I also like MS Word's Auto Summarize feature. No, it doesn't work as intended - but it's always good for a chuckle.

Try taking your latest manuscript and ask Word to summarize it in 500 words.

The results are usually nonsensical - but funny when read out loud.

Jarucia said...

Hmh, I'm surprised that only one of those words is in my first paragraph.

But "know" is a fairly big one...and it's in there twice.

Maybe that's what I get for writing fantasy.

Karla said...

Jana-
I'd never used that Auto Summarize feature before. It was bizarre and hilarious, and hopefully not an accurate summary of my manuscript!

Deb said...

Interesting! I can't find a single word on your puzzle that came from my submitted paragraph. I don't know if I should be depressed because I’m so different or elated because I may be unique.

Jarucia said...

I'd never used AutoSummarize before now.

It saddens me.

Sam Hranac said...

A quick check, I think I only used the word day from that blob. Not sure what that means.

Laura Martone said...

I agree with Orange Slushie (great name, BTW!) - that would look awesome on a wall. But I repeat my statement from a couple posts ago. I don't envy you, Nathan. 247,000 words?!! Sheesh. How can you possibly read these paragraphs in a couple days - even if you skim?

Sam Hranac said...

Okay. Just did this wordle thing on my current ms. It was delightful to see the flavor of the ms come through! Fun stuff.

Phyllis said...

This is extremely cool.

"Like" is incredibly prominent. According to Wikipedia's word frequency lists, "like" ranks 76th in all Gutenberg project texts. In contemporary fiction, it's more frequent: rank 36.

Here's the link: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Frequency_lists#Top_English_words_lists

Andrew the author said...

I wish I could still submit a different paragraph that includes those and ONLY those words. The first sentence might be:

One body was just like back around the time you felt your first black eye.

Janine said...

Wordle is cute, but the AutoCrit Editing Wizard is REALLY useful.

It's great at finding the weaknesses in my manuscript.

Bill Baynes said...

Hi:

Thanks for choosing me as a finalist, but how come you didn't include my paragraph on your blog?

Bill Baynes

Lily G said...

I put the finalists' paragraphs through Wordle for a lark. It came back with "back". Hmm...

Kathie said...

I have teenagers, Nathan. They use "like" in every freaking sentence. So I went to Wordle, tossed in my latest MS and bada-boom, bada-bing apparently I use the word LIKE a bit too much, too.

So, thank you. I'm going to use this to help me identify the overusage. The site has a lot of nifty, useful tools there so I have a great new obsession.

And damn you, Nathan! Now I have something else to obsess over. /tease

PS: It sucks that I have to use my Google identity and can't use my website and email address.

Anonymous said...

Wow... I should really watch how many times I say like...

Anonymous said...

Wow, this would be a greatHallmark card.

Diana said...

I'm a little late to this, but I see the words "just" and "even" are also prominent. Not surprising, I see submissions filled with those two words. They are rather overused, in my opinion.

Cool site. Thanks for the link. I might run a few submissions through it to see what I come up with.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Wordle comes with an unsigned ActiveX control and Windows 7 won't allow it to download to my computer. I used it on my older XP computer and it was a lot of fun and was a nice tool to see which words I needed to pare down.

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