Journeys of the Heart

An author's journey

Word Clouds

Thanks to a recent blog by fellow author, Terry O’dell, I’ve discovered word clouds. If you already know and use them, you can skip the rest. For those of you who’ve never heard of them, by now you’re probably scratching your head and asking, so what is a word cloud and what can one do for me? 

Word clouds are a toy or a tool, depending upon how you want to use them.  There are several internet sites where they can be generated, but the one Terry recommended, and which I used, is  The site is fun and easy to navigate, both important criteria for those of us who remain computer challenged.  The purpose of Wordle and similar sites is to create a cloud(visual diagram) using a section of text that is copied and pasted into the indicated box.  The more frequently a word is used, the larger and bolder it will appear in the cloud. Many bloggers use them as a fun visual.  I wanted to display mine here, but due to technical difficulties it refused to load.

The truly exciting part about this site is its potential as a tool to use in editing.  I pasted the first two scenes of my wip into Wordle (the source of my word cloud) and before my eyes, my oft repeated word choices bloomed like weeds in my garden (to use a simile from Terry).  In minutes, I was plucking those nasty weeds. 

Now, not all of my words are weeds, some are necessary additions to my garden.  My characters’ names for one and some key words that let me know my conflict is showing up right at the start of the story.  Some are commonly used by most of the other authors I read and to find an uncommon word replacement could create more of a problem. Readers tend to flow over the words they know, but they might get hung up on an unfamiliar term.  Sometimes a less familiar replacement is just plain awkward. 

Check out the site when you have time to play and create your own cloud.  Whether you are simply looking to amaze your friends or want to use the site for editing, it won’t be a waste of time.


December 8, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. I’ve heard about Wordle but never used it–thanks for the reminder!

    Comment by pattie | December 9, 2009 | Reply

  2. Those word clouds are cool. Nice pic of you Kath. Nice smile 🙂

    Comment by Kathy Kulig | December 13, 2009 | Reply

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