Monday, April 25, 2011

Plans. I Has Them.

If you've never used Wordle after completing a manuscript, let me encourage you to try it out. The concept is pretty basic: copy and paste your document into the program, and it will show you a word cloud of the most frequent fliers in your selection. Once the cloud is displayed, you can remove things like your main and subsidiary characters' names in order to get a truer look at the repeat offenders.

I was fairly surprised by some of the words that I saw come up this time:

Wordle: Four

I don't know how well you can see that, other than my biggest no-no's. I think it's a link, if you click on the picture.

Obviously, you can see that I like my prepositions, as well as just. What a sneaky word, right?

However, I was really surprised to see so many body parts appear on the cloud:


I guess I have anatomy on the brain.

Moving along...

On my last post, Shain Brown asked me a few questions that it's time for me to face.

Might we ask your plans--contemporary or self-publishing? If you plan on querying, when do you foresee that process starting? 

I have a more complex answer for this question that gets deeper into my personal feelings about who I am as a writer and where I see myself going, but the simple answer is yes.

Oh wait, it wasn't a yes-or-no question.

I don't plan on going the self-publishing route. I'm going to slug it out in the query trenches with everyone else. Maybe it's because I've always thought the phrase "slush pile" sounded rather refreshing--I love those Hush Puppie Icees/Slushies. If I'm in a slush pile, can it be blue raspberry flavored? Or Dr. Pepper? Thanks.

More seriously, though, I hope to start querying over the summer. However, I will not send out a letter until I'm absolutely ready. I have a lot of revisions to do on my novel, and then it will go into the amazing hands of my critique group. After that, I have some savvy beta readers standing by to poke any final holes in the book. Only after it's gone through all that, and I've decided that I won't just scrap it, then I'll turn to the query process.

Getting ready to query is going to take a lot of work for me. I've done absolutely zero agent research. I have no clue who my bright star might be.

I also have some fears about the timing of my query. I certainly don't expect to be snapped up right away, but if I did, then I'd probably be facing some revision deadlines during my first semester of nursing school. That scares the shit out of me, quite frankly. So then I think maybe I should wait. And then I remember the slush pile.

Honestly, I'm a little frightened. But right now, my focus is still on the book. I'm not going to think about queries or agents or agent revisions until the book I have is as shiny as I can make it.

Then we'll talk.


Sarah Ahiers said...

man, my word clouds look similar to yours - or at least, "Back" always features prominently. Sigh.
Also, it doens't hurt to start doing some agent research in query tracker now. I stated motnhs in advance and just made sure i looked over like 5 agents a day. I just did my search, sorted by agency, and then went down the list. Time consuming, but not difficult

Saumya said...

I haven't heard of Wordle until now!! I also hope to query over the summer but the process is so daunting. Good luck with revisions!

Teri Anne Stanley said...

I love the wordle...if (I mean WHEN) I finish my WIP, I'll be running it through there, and totally printing out a copy to hang on my office wall!
And I like the "slush" thing, mom had a slush fund garnered from leavings in the laundry...we spent it at the end of every summer on...yeah. Slushies.

Jonathon Arntson said...

I think Wordle is an excellent tool, but I try to not depend on it.

My favorite thing to do with Wordle is to type in the lyrics to my favorite Beatles songs and see which words they use most often. "Life" always pops up pretty large.

Hannah said...

I've done a little agent research as well. Mostly just looking and bookmarking. I will create a more definitive list once I get some feedback on my revisions. I'm shooting for the stars!

Also, no one's ever called me savvy before...thanks.

blankenship.louise said...

Let's see how many hours I loose fooling around with Wordle... :)

Author Joshua Hoyt said...

Great idea. I can only imagine the ones that will show up on mine.

Shain Brown said...

I feel so important today, as to have my name in the bright color of a hyperlink on your blog. But in all seriousness that is the coolest tool. Thanks for sharing.

We will welcome any and all to the slush pile, currently I am hanging out in the Cherry Dr. Pepper area.

Again congrats on The End, and now to make that booger real shiny!

Regina said...

What a fun challenge for today! Thanks for the info. Also best wishes with your queries! :)

JE said...

JOIN THE TRENCHES! We always need new recruits. ;-)

Best of luck when you begin this summer!

Oh, and I love, love, love wordle.


Jenny said...

The idea of a refreshing slush pile cracked me up. (Make mine grape, please.) I tend to think of the slush pile as gray January gutter slush. I like your idea better!

I will check into Wordle. I want my own word cloud.

Old Kitty said...

You Frankenstein!!!

GOOD LUCK with getting this new novel all shiny and sparkly and fabulous!!!! Good for you and all the best!!! yay! take care

Linda G. said...

Hey, "back" is a biggie in my wordle, too. Huh. Weird.

And you are so wise not to worry about querying until your book is all bright and shiny. When you're happy with the book, then you can start researching agents, so you can find it the best match. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

No need to worry until the moment occurs! Never did the agent thing, but sent a lot of queries to publishers.

Unknown said...

I have not heard of Wordle until now, meaning you have just educated me! Great Blog.I am a new follower. :):)

Stopping by from the A-Z challenge
Murugi A Njehia
Her World

Katie Anderson said...

Using wordle with your novel is such a good idea. Great way to show up the words and phrases you use too much. I'll be heading over to test out my own.... Thanks for sharing Summer!

Talli Roland said...

I love Wordle - whoever invented it deserves to be knighted. :)