I recently read about a cool web application on another author's blog (sorry, I can't remember whose), called Wordle. It's intended to be a toy that takes text you paste into it, or the text of a URL you provide, and creates a word cloud where the size of each word represents its frequency in the text. Much like the tag cloud at the bottom left column of my site.
So what? Well, for a writer this could be very valuable. You can paste in a chapter and instantly see which words you use most. Those echoes and overused words that we often overlook become glaringly obvious in a word cloud. Wordle automatically filters out common English words, like “an” and “the”.
Under Language you can even show word counts. You can also right-click a word and remove it from the cloud, so I removed my main characters' names.
Here's the cloud I created for my first chapter of Floater. Apparently, I use “back” a lot. Hmm…