Saturday, 30 August 2014

Calidar in Word Clouds

I've been very quiet for the past ten days or so.  This is usually a sure sign that I'm busy working on something, and in this case that something has been indexing.  Specifically, I have spent many hours in InDesign creating an index for the PDF version of the soon-to-be-released first +World of Calidar book, In Stranger Skies.

If you're anything like me, you probably think an index is something generated automatically by software — throw some keywords and it and let it do its magic.  Unfortunately, this couldn't be further from the truth.  The software does help, but it's 90% human input.

And it takes hours.

Still, hopefully it will all be worthwhile when the book comes out, and readers get to skip around the PDF version using the index and bookmarks I've put in place.

All of this sifting through the text has given me a somewhat unique perspective on strange and useless trivia such as which character name appears the most (Captain Isledemer d'Alberran, naturally!), how many pages the word Calidar appears on (22 out of 132), and which skyship has the second most mentions in the book (Meryath's flagship, the Eternal Glory).

This led me to think about how I could visualise all of this, so I came up with these word clouds.

The first shows the most common words used in Calidar: In Stranger Skies, including both the story and gazetteer sections.

Bruce Heard's Calidar: In Stranger Skies word cloud
It's quite clear who the hero of this story is!

Next up is the story on its own:
Bruce Heard's Calidar: In Stranger Skies story word cloud
Not a lot of change, really — unsurprising considering that the story takes up about fifty pages by itself, and fiction contains a lot more repetition of words than gazetteer write-ups.

So next let's look at the gazetteer sections without the story:
Bruce Heard's Calidar: In Stranger Skies gazetteer word cloud
This is a veritable mine of key words and themes for Calidar.  Captain Isledemer d'Alberran is still in there, but he has yielded centre stage to the setting itself.  That's very much how the book reads, too.  If you've ever read the Voyage of the Princess Ark, you probably know what I mean.

And finally, here is one for the Kickstarter-exclusive PDF of short stories, which I am currently in the midst of assembling:
Bruce Heard's Calidar: In Stranger Skies Under the Great Vault word cloud
Look closely and you may spot a few words of Kragdûras dwarvish here and there.

Back to work!
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