Wednesday, May 9, 2012

On Word Clouds and Rituals

Greetings, Vortexers! I have emerged from the Twilight Zone writers refer to as "deadline hell" relatively unscathed. The novel I was ghostwriting is finished, soon to be turned in (and published), and it has left me a little bereft. Maybe it's because I haven't been here at the Vortex for awhile. Maybe I need to get my time travel mojo back. Maybe it's because I have to say goodbye to characters. Sounds nuts, I know. But spend all day, every day for months with the voices in your head, and they become real.

I'm not sure what book-ending rituals other writers have. I have Wordle. The absolute final thing I do before I call a work finished is cut and paste it, in its entirety, into the wordle text box. Wordle takes the most frequent words and creates a montage, which you can then jack with artistically. This accomplishes two things. Practically, it helps the writer to know if there is a glaring overuse of some inconsequential crutch word-the larger the word, the more frequently it appears in the text. Visually, it's a beautiful representation of a lot of hard work.
Wordle: Novel
I'm not sure how much of this novel I'll be able to share with Vortexers since it was ghostwritten, but I wanted to share its wordle. It's a romance novel, so I suppose it's a really good thing the hero's name, Chase, turned up the biggest. In this case, size does matter. Unfortunately, the powers-that-be at wordle no longer allow a simple cut and paste and increasing its girth only distorts the words. Ahem. But if you click on the mini-graphic it'll link you to wordle's page and a larger version if you're curious.

I look forward to catching up on life and friends and chores (crazy, I know). I might finally stop watching British television, clean out the meat drawer, paint a room or two and get back to volunteering.

For writers here, what are your book-ending rituals? For readers, do you have any rituals after you read that last page?


Rick said...

After I finish a long writing project, I rent a helicopter, wait til it's dark, then fly over the city of Detroit looking for signs of life. Some nights its a long wait. Others, you'd be surprised at the poetic flow of street humanity that flowers beneath a moonlit cityscape.

Or, I take every dollar I have out of my personal account and play poker with convicted felons til dawn.

Or, I work out for three or four hours, open the most expensive bottle of wine I can find in the cellar and toast the gods and goddesses of writing.

the walking man said...

When I finish a piece of writing I usually thank the power of the cosmos that I yet have enough active brain cells to write.

Though if I feel it was a particularly good piece I also take my shotgun outside and shoot at helicopters flying in the night.
I call it a flash in the pan for them looking for poetry.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've never used wordle. Might be worth a look see.

L.A. Mitchell said...

@Rick...OMG, Rick. You are *such* a writer. I'll share that toast with you, though ;) Detroit people are all the same. Geez.

@Charles...I promise, it's not too much of a time suck. And, it has its editing uses.

Robin Bielman said...

Yay! Congrats on finishing! Are you going to be allowed to give us hints about this book so we can read it? I've never heard of Wordle - love it, though! And I will most definitely make it a ritual. Otherwise, I just jump up and down and then let out a happy sigh. I might maybe clap, too. Oh, and there's gotta be a cupcake in there somewhere. :D

Thanks SO much for buying my book! I hope you enjoy it! ~big hugs~