Yesterday Vince Liaguno, editor of the upcoming anthology I'll be appearing in entitled Unspeakable Horror, introduced me to Wordle.net.
Wordle is a clever Java program written by an IBM programmer named Jonathan Feinberg. It takes any text or URL (with a feed) that you enter, analyzes the prevalence of the words, and then transforms them into a lovely and fascinating word cloud. The one shown here is based on the the content of this blog. (Click the graphic for a larger version.) Vince used it to create an alternate view of the anthology's table of contents.
You can change the colors and fonts and layouts, and generally waste all kinds of precious time playing around with it. It's great fun.
However, it also has a useful application. At least for me, and possibly any other writers out there. I like to enter the text of my stories into Wordle, then use the results to find and weed out crutch words I often use, such as like, just, went, was, etc.