by Ian McHugh (writing at Alan Baxter: Warrior Scribe)
A few weeks ago, fellow CSFG member Phill Berrie wrote a post about word frequency analysis, a tool he uses in his work as an editor. In his post, Phill included a link to a free online word frequency analyser. Plug the text of your story in and it spits out:
- the total word count of the story
- how many different unique words you’ve used (a, few, weeks, ago, etc)
- and how many times you’ve used them (a=36, few=5, weeks=2, ago=2)
Since I had set aside that weekend for working on the final draft of my novel, I decided instead (see “advanced procrastination”, above) to plug a few of my stories into the online analyser and see what the results were. After plugging all of my stories into the analyser, it told me a bunch of stuff that I already pretty well knew:
- I’m using less adjectives and adverbs than I used to.
- I have developed a habit of overusing the word as to join two clauses in a sentence.
- I somehow don’t write stories between 3,000 and 4,000 words long. Like, ever.
What it also showed, that I hadn’t realised before, was that the number of different unique words that I use has fallen by about 20-25% since I first started writing. For stories over 6,000 words, my number of unique words per thousand has dropped from up near 300 to under 230.
So, why? Read more…