Scott Westerfeld
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My New Book in Word Cloud

October 9th, 2013

I AM BACK. Yes, it’s been a while. But I’ve been writing, and a week ago I finished the first draft of my NEXT NOVEL. It is 135,000 words long, almost as long as Uglies and Pretties put together!

At the moment, this draft is with my agent and editor, and various novelist friends of mine. They’ll all have a gander and get back to me with comments and suggestions, and then there will be rewrites, copyedits, page proofs, sales meetings, cover designs, advanced reader copies, etc. Getting through all these stages means that Afterworlds will come out on October 28 September 23, 2014.

Yep. A year from now.

As always when I finish a book, I made a word cloud of Afterworlds. Word clouds take the most commonly occurring words in the text (omitting obvious ones like “the” and “was”) and size them by how often they appear.

I make these clouds partly to amuse and titillate you guys, and partly to make sure that there aren’t any overused words stinking up the joint. Check it out:

afterworlds word cloud

Okay, so what do we have here?

Darcy is the main character, so she’s the biggest word, naturally. Imogen is also key, as are Yamaraj and Lizzie. (Lizzie looks small to me, but her sections are in first person, so her name doesn’t appear as much!) Mindy, Kiralee, and Nisha are the other characters to appear, and they all seem about the right size. And yes, there is an important character that shows up as “mother”/”mom”.

Of the Dreaded Overused Words I look for, most aren’t there. No “eyebrows” or “frowned,” thank heavens. No “smiled” or “laughed.” But I will probably take a look at “looked” and “stared” when I do the rewrites. Looking ain’t a verb you need too much of.

What I mostly notice from this is how plain the words are. There’s very little sign of the genre of book I’ve written. To see what I mean, check out the word cloud of my last novel, Goliath:

Along with all the character names, this cloud has lots of words from the Leviathan milieu: “airship,” “Clanker,” “captain,” “cargo,” and “engines.” But you don’t have any of those in my new cloud. This is partly because Afterworlds is contemporary, and half of the book has no fantastic elements at all.

Indeed, this is a story told in relatively simple words. Notice “bad” and “little” in there, which make perfect sense. (Gotta read it to see why.) This makes sense, now that I see it revealed in the cloud. Must contemplate what it means, though. Certainly there’s a bit less world-building in Afterworlds than there was in the Leviathan series, but that makes sense for a stand-alone novel.

For more on the story of the book, check out this podcast with Sarah Wendell of
SBTB. It’s her interviewing me and Justine in Brisbane, and we discuss both our next-year books. Click here, then go to the bottom of that page and click the player controls to listen. Lots of me talking about the plot, which some might find a bit spoilery!

Enjoy. And be seeing you here more.

48 Responses to “My New Book in Word Cloud”

  1. 1
    Gladys
    October 9th, 2013 06:41

    Wah! I’m so exited but the curiosity is killing me. D: *patiently waits*

  2. 2
    Uglies Fan Girl
    October 9th, 2013 07:24

    Wow! Gotta read this now when I got enough time!

  3. 3
    Kristina-la
    October 9th, 2013 07:50

    Eeeee!!!! So excited I can’t contain the joy I’m feeling!

  4. 4
    Panzercrappitastica
    October 9th, 2013 09:10

    Hi Scott! Yay posty!

    *smiles in an overly happy, slightly insane way* Mwahahaha, the words more or less match up with my guesses! I’m watching the video first thing tomorrow! *waits incredibly impatiently* Seems next October will b e just as happy-making as this one!

  5. 5
    Kiera
    October 9th, 2013 14:53

    I’m so excited! I now have a release date to look forward to! Today is officially a good day!

  6. 6
    Buffy
    October 9th, 2013 16:38

    I love doing word clouds with my writing too. I’ve noticed that ‘looking’ (and all its various forms) shows up a lot. I guess it’s not good when characters are just seeing stuff all of the time.

    Incidentally, I’ve just introduced the word cloud concept to a senior member of staff at work and she loves it so much. She spent most of her day raving about it yesterday. I’m going to have to remember that come raise time…

  7. 7
    Panzercrappitastica
    October 9th, 2013 18:02

    I can’t figure out how to play the interview! What do I click on?

  8. 8
    Sage
    October 9th, 2013 18:24

    It says on the Goliath word cloud “spoiler removed!” and now I really want to know which spoiler it was referring too….. XD

  9. 9
    nerezza-la
    October 9th, 2013 23:25

    I haven’t watched the interview yet, but even with almost no information about Afterworlds other than the time period, I’m still excited with this post.

    It means that scott-la is, in fact, not dead. After so long of silence, I was starting to worry.

    Also: one of the biggest words on the world cloud for my novel is think/thinking…I guess there isn’t enough action. :(

  10. 10
    Panzercrappitastica
    October 10th, 2013 00:53

    @8: I’m pretty sure it was “Tesla” ;)

  11. 11
    Scorpio-Ferret
    October 10th, 2013 02:05

    yay! Scott’s back! and the news is awesome! and my day just got exponentially better! :D

  12. 12
    Roxanne
    October 10th, 2013 02:30

    Yay! I’m always excited when a new post is posted! :D
    Wait, you have characters named Darcy and Lizzie?!?! Hehe…just thought I’d point that out. ;)
    Can anyone tell me how to/where I can do the word cloud thing? I’m not done with my manuscript yet, but it’d be so much fun to try it when I do!

    @8: Yeah, I think Scott mentioned it was “Tesla.”

    (Also, now randomly the comments closed thing is saying February 6, 2014…)

  13. 13
    Bridgette-la
    October 10th, 2013 02:35

    This just made a bad day so, so amazing!!! Am kinda sad that there is no eyebrow, I like looking for that word in your books Scott-la, every time you complain about it! But eye is there, so tis bubbly making! Can’t wait!384 days!!!

  14. 14
    Sabrina-la
    October 10th, 2013 02:58

    Great to have you back! I’m looking forward to hearing more about the next book.

  15. 15
    Julie-wa
    October 10th, 2013 07:32

    So exciting!!!! These all sound like female names – interesting. Could Kiralee or Yama be male? Just curious.
    Definitely can’t wait, because totes missing new work from Scott-la.

    Also – any word on when the third Shay book is coming out?

  16. 16
    Panzercrappitastica
    October 10th, 2013 08:35

    @12: wordle.com is a pretty good one. In fact, I think that’s where Scott does his. It’s where I do mine. Hope that helped.

  17. 17
    SteampunkJedi
    October 11th, 2013 08:24

    The little “spoiler removed!” is pretty funny, but gracious at the same time.
    @10: Probably.
    These are very interesting, Scott. I am curious as to everything about the book now! (Not that I wasn’t before.)

    Comments are closing in February? That’s a bummer, but at least I’ll still be able to read your posts.

  18. 18
    Panzercrappitastica
    October 11th, 2013 17:48

    @17: I don’t think they ever actually close. They just keep pushing back the date it says they will. It’s kind of strange.

  19. 19
    nerezza-la
    October 11th, 2013 23:23

    to readdress @15 (Julie-wa), I have scoured every inch of the internet and have found nothing relating to the third Shay’s Story. Perhaps we can alert Scott-la to this error—it seems like it should have come out MONTHS ago.

    HEY!!!!!! OVER HERE!!!!! YEAH, YOU!!!! SHAY STORY INFO ASAP!!!!! pretty please…. (hey, that was a pun. :O)

  20. 20
    Middy Me
    October 14th, 2013 06:54

    Scott’s back!!! Yay!!
    I should have noticed this sooner, but I had my browser opened in the comments of the previous post, so I didn’t see this new one for a few days, but it’s such great news! Afterworlds! A year from now! :)

  21. 21
    Midshipman K
    October 14th, 2013 08:23

    OH MY GOSH YES!!!!! I’M SO EXCITED!!!!!

    Tesla’s removed! That’s hilarious! It made me so happy to suddenly see DERYN and ALEK right in my face that I nearly cried. Noella (from Alpha if you remember her Scott….) recently texted me (it was very out of the blue) and we just talked about LBG and it made me soooo happy. I discovered something a bit odd: all the parts that I hold very dear to my heart are when Deryn and Alek just….talk. Like Chapter 12 of Goliath (the big reveal) and Chapter 30 or 33 (not sure, somewhere around there), also Goliath (the chapter spent in Deryn’s cabin after her tumble in the canyon….) And the chapter in Behemoth when Alek tells Deryn about Lilit’s crush and the scroll. And the chapter in Leviathan with the tennis court and pocket watch story…. *sigh* I love them so much.

    Now that I’m done rambling (why do I always do this?), I’m not sure if anyone has answered the question of how you do this. I think it’s through Wordle or something? I have a note on my computer from back at Alpha that says that and I think that’s what it’s about….Although I think I didn’t make any word clouds because I didn’t have time to get the software or something? I don’t know, but I think it’s through Wordle….

    @12 (Roxanne): Darcy and Lizzie! That is amusing….

  22. 22
    Panzercrappitastica
    October 14th, 2013 08:45

    @21: I answered! wordle.net. Sixteenth comment. And I totally agree that some of the best LBG scenes are the quiet ones. And I think the pocket watch on the tennis court story is so sweet mostly because it’s actually true, which is completely awesome :)

  23. 23
    Maria Jones
    October 14th, 2013 21:32

    I love how the word ‘said’ is pretty big. Apparently, us writers aren’t supposed to use that word that much! ;)

  24. 24
    Panzercrappitastica
    October 15th, 2013 07:42

    ^^ Yes, it’s “boring” and “repetitive”, but still one of the most frequently used words in writing. I have used it forty-three times so far in my thirty-seven page story, so… Yeah, it’s actually pretty common, people! “Said” isn’t being lazy, it’s just not having anything more to say ;)

  25. 25
    Roxanne
    October 16th, 2013 01:28

    MIDK, YOU’RE BACK! :D

    I finally finished the LBG audiobooks, and they are AMAZING! I love Eddie’s voice (as I mentioned previously). It almost made me hate him less by the end. But Adela Rogers sounded like a man. Evidently, Alan Cumming can’t do American women very well.
    I agree that the parts where they are just talking are the best! I mean, I love all the descriptions and heroics (mostly on Deryn’s part) and fights and old-timey politics, but the (totally believable) romance is was really does it for me! :)

  26. 26
    ruth
    October 16th, 2013 01:33

    I have this weird feeling that Lizzie is is Darcy’s love interest.

  27. 27
    Scorpio-Ferret
    October 16th, 2013 06:15

    I was recently clearing out some old files from random school assignments, as i was skimming a short story, one of my characters was named Darcy. strange… maybe i’m psychic… muahaha.
    can’t wait for Afterworlds! and another Darcy!

  28. 28
    Aiyana Lyster
    October 16th, 2013 08:01

    Oh my gods, I remember when the Goliath word cloud came out! I nearly died because of the ‘spoiler removed’ bit. haha
    Gods, I am SOOO excited for Afterworlds! AGH. I WANT IT. GIMME.

  29. 29
    Panzercrappitastica
    October 16th, 2013 18:03

    I already have a countdown timer for it… Why must we wait a whole year!?
    I am very much hoping that Afterworlds and The Blood of Olympus don’t come out on the same day. That would suck.

  30. 30
    Zac-la
    October 17th, 2013 00:01

    Did anyone actually listen to that audio interview? I don’t have time but I’d love to know what Scott said in it!

    Shay’s Story – I’ve been wondering the same thing! Scott’s probably too busy at the moment with Afterworlds to write the 3rd one? And I’m not sure how well the sales went from the previous two…?

    I’m curious about these names … Darcy, Imogen, Lizzie, Nisha, Kiralee, Yamaraj… it sounds like there’s a range of ethnicities (or ethnicity’s…?) judging from those names, which is awesome! Is Yamaraj Asian or Indian? We all know Scott’s tendency to all things Japanese :P

    Ok, just Googled Yamaraj and apparently it’s something to do with Hinduism! So judging from that Yamaraj is probably an Indian character? Awesome :D

  31. 31
    Zac-la
    October 17th, 2013 00:01

    BTW, have any of you guys written fan-fiction for any of Scott’s books? I’m currently working on an Uglies facfic entitled Lovelies. More info soon ;)

  32. 32
    Zac-la
    October 17th, 2013 00:02

  33. 33
    Zac-la
    October 17th, 2013 00:03

    How did I just post an empty comment…

  34. 34
    Panzercrappitastica
    October 17th, 2013 01:13

    @30: I have not. I desperately want to, but cannot find our how to play it. Someone help please? The only fanfiction I’ve written is crossovers, all three of which involve Leviathan…

  35. 35
    Middy Me
    October 17th, 2013 02:27

    @30 – there’s a little bar at the bottom of the post with a PLAY button, dunno why it doesn’t work for you…..in my laptop it played just fine.

    And Afterworlds sounds absolutely awesome, Scott!! After listening to the interview I just cannot wait for next year!

  36. 36
    Middy Me
    October 17th, 2013 02:28

    Does anyone want me to say what Scott said in the interview??

  37. 37
    Zac-la
    October 17th, 2013 03:58

    @36 yes please!

  38. 38
    Middy Me
    October 17th, 2013 07:40

    Well what I understood about Afterworlds is that it’s going to be two books in one. The even-number chapters are the story of this girl who has a near-death experience. She plays dead and sort of “thinks” herself into being dead, or something like that.
    The odd-number chapters are about another girl who is writing the first girl’s story for Nanowrimo (I think the book’s publishing date has something to do with this).

    It sounds weird, but certainly awesome …still I think Scott could explain it better, cuz I’m not sure I got it all right :)

  39. 39
    Middy Miles
    October 28th, 2013 05:10

    “Half of the book has no fantastical elements at all.”
    You sly dog, you.
    BECAUSE I KNOW THINGS.
    #Alpha

  40. 40
    Middy Miles
    October 28th, 2013 05:13

    @Zac-la. *scoffs* has anyone written any fanfictions recently? *cackles evilly* Of course. Just click on my name, man. Just click. And then lose an hour or two of your life.

  41. 41
    Sher-la
    October 28th, 2013 17:58

    It looks awesome so far, even though the words are so simple! (It looks like you used ‘just about’ quite a bit as well, they’re almost the same size.) Thanks to you, I use wordle whenever I’m done writing and it’s helped a lot. ^-^

    Also, my writing club and I are dressing up as characters from our favorite novels for Halloween. I decided to go as Deryn Sharp since I’ve already got the hair, eyes, and height. (Although my hair’s not that short.. ^~^) I need to give that series a re-read, it was good. The first time that I read it, my friend and I were reading it at the same time, so we were kind of racing to see what happens next.

  42. 42
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  43. 43
    partition edari
    January 28th, 2014 15:58

    I saw this post and nearly had a heart attack. I thought it was the promised news of what happened in the meeting in LA. On July 30, Scott said that he would be blogging more about his trip in a week. It has now been over 3 weeks. I know I sound really impatient right now, but… I. Must. Know. What. Happened. I really hope the Uglies and Leviathan movies actually happen! Of course, this is all really cool and all, but unfortunately I live in Florida, so I can’t go.

  44. 44
    geymate partition
    January 29th, 2014 17:59

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  45. 45
    partition
    January 30th, 2014 15:25

    I know I sound really impatient right now, but… I. Must. Know. What. Happened. I really hope the Uglies and Leviathan movies actually happen! Of course, this is all really cool and all, but unfortunately I live in Florida, so I can’t go.

  46. 46
    saipa
    February 2nd, 2014 17:43

    training.’m Very happy that I was familiar with your site., For teaching that I
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  47. 47
    Isabel
    February 26th, 2014 19:54

    OMG i,m so excited for anouther book sesnse i’ve read all of them if it is gonna be like them than YES I can’t wait for the new book!! Your an amazing author!! Are you going to write anouther book to the uglies series? Is there going to be a movie?
    ~Isabel

  48. 48
    toure torkye
    April 7th, 2014 16:01

    Thank you very much., You are a good writer.
    In addition to art that will give you good

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