writing process: minor revisions

May 5, 2010

7. Second read-through: minor revisions:

This is revising at the level of paragraphs, sentences, and words. I replace “telling” passages with “showing,” weak verbs with active ones, and passive voice with active. I delete unnecessary dialogue tags, adverbs, adjectives, and other modifiers. I make sure that I have involved all the senses.

At one point of the process, I read the story aloud. It helps me detect repetitions, awkward sentences, or sentences that go on for too long. I also use a text-to-speech software called TextAloud that reads the story to me.

A nice tool to help find overused words is Wordle. It creates a word cloud in which the most frequently used words get the largest font. Here’s what the word cloud of Hidden Truths looks like (after I removed all the names from the picture).

Hm, seems I need to take a closer look at all my “just’s” and “back’s.”

There’s also Wordcounter, which ranks the most frequently used words in your story, but it has a word limit.

The Autocrit Editing Wizard analyzes overused words, repeated phrases, and sentence length variation. Guests are limited to 800 words per submission.

So, what’s your method for revision? Any tools you use?



  1. COOL! The geek in me is thrilled to learn about these tools, which I never knew existed. I’ll try using Wordle on my last school paper.

    Thanks for taking the time to create these posts, it’s been fun learning about the process.

  2. Here’s another geeky tool for you:
    It’s a text editor that (among many other things) counts the frequency of every word in yoru document. The “light” version is freeware.

  3. […] are a lot of cool Web sites for writers out there. I blogged about Wordle before, but now I have discovered another fun […]

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