Have you discovered Wordle.net yet?
It’s a site that will make a word cloud of your entire manuscript. I copied a late-process draft of The Wednesday Daughters and pasted it into the handy-dandy box on the site–so if it has a word limit, it is something less than 80,000+ words. You can see the result to the left.
So why am I so jazzed about this?
In an instant, I could see which words occur most frequently. Some–character names, for example–were not surprising. Others (even, just, like) sent me off to do a global search in Word, so that I could consider where I needed them and where I didn’t.
The end result: a manuscript that is 15 “likes” shorter. It has 26 fewer “evens,” 41 fewer “backs,” and … wait for it … 183 fewer “justs.” Seriously. 183!
No doubt I should be embarrassed that I had a draft with all those “justs” I didn’t need. But better to find out now rather than when it is in print! – Meg