Friday, July 20, 2007

Tools, Tag Clouds, and a Free Course

For those of you unsure of your editing abilities (i.e. all of us), check out Roger J Carlson and his site full of writing tech tips. There are tools to find your adverbs, passive verbs, and other strength-sapping parts of speech. The macros are zipped into MS Word documents, however.

Open Office Writer will read Word documents but I don’t know about other programs and I don’t know about using Word macros. I will download and try some of these this weekend and post the results. Also, I’ll do some digging and see if there are similar tools out there for various word processors. If you can open these, they will work for rich text format documents (.rtf) so you should be able to use them.

Then there’s the Word Painter software offered as a part of the “Get Me a Rewrite” course that’s free at NewsU. Chip Scanlan is the instructor for this course. It’s at the top of my “To Take” list.

If you’re a visual learner, or if you just love tag clouds, head over to TagCrowd and turn your article into a cloud. I ran one of my recent articles and was thrilled with the results. It was clear what words were the focus of the article and the key phrase was comprised of the three biggest tags. If only I was that focused all of the time!

Since the clouds organize your topics in a visual way, I wanted one for this blog rather than the topic listing in the sidebar. Now, phydeaux3 has granted my wish. I don’t know when he or she posted this step-by-step guide to configuring your tag cloud in Blogger, so it could be that my wish was granted before I even made it. Either way, I’ll be installing this toy over the next few days. I look forward to the results.