My upcoming novel, Where the Carnies Are is in the editing stage right now and I just ran it through a little test that helps me determine what words I used the most when I wrote it. I’m going to tell you exactly how to do that (for free!) in just a minute.
First, let’s talk about WHY it is important to do this to your manuscripts. When writing, you will often use the words you are most comfortable with. That isn’t a huge problem, but it might make you sound repetitive and boring. Let me give you an example.
When I checked my manuscript, I found a list of words that I had used over 200 times–each. (Don’t look at the short commonly used words that go in just about every sentence. Look at the ones that can be switched out for other words.)
Here is the list of words I’m concerned about in my manuscript:
Yeah. Many of those can be changed to better, more exciting words. So, once you do this to your manuscript, be sure to do a find and replace. Use a thesaurus and cut out some of the more repetitive words. Just make sure it doesn’t mess up the flow of you writing or the details of the story.
Keep in mind that sometimes it is necessary to have a lot of one word. An example would be said. That word is extremely common in novels, and you don’t need to worry too much about it.
Okay, so here is what you do:
Head over to http://www.writewords.org.uk/word_count.asp
Copy and paste your manuscript text into the box. Click submit. Analyze results–carefully.
They also have a phrase frequency counter which might also be useful. That one is right here: http://www.writewords.org.uk/phrase_count.asp
*Note: Continue to check phrases with more or less words. This will be the most beneficial. As long as you don’t have a five word phrase repeated more than 10 times, you should be fine.