Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Chart Wizard

I like using chart wizard, and after I read Anita Burgh’s blog I started thinking about using a chart to demonstrate how my multiple viewpoint characters were showing up in the wordage stakes.
Now if you don’t like using spreadsheets or think they’re simply too much hassle, you could be right. But if your mind ticks over like mine, then you may enjoy the process. First of all you need to be prepared to count the words in each chapter. And list them in a spreadsheet. OK.

Then you need to count how many of those words were in which character’s viewpoint. It’s all easy enough to do using Highlight and the Word Count option under Tools. Three cheers for computers!
If you have three or so viewpoint characters, count their wordage and enter it in columns in the spreadsheet. You’ll end up with something that looks like this:

Chap Matho Harry Meg Lennox Jane
1 500 200 300 70 50

(I have a nasty feeling blogspot is going to render the numbers in one line, but I assure you they are supposed to be in columns - Matho 500, Harry 200, etc.)
Obviously you’ll need to do this for every chapter you do, so it is definitely easier if you start as you begin a new work. But an hour can have the biggest novel licked as long as you persevere. Once you get to the end, command the totals for each of the character columns. You use the formula =SUM(and between the brackets insert the line numbers you want adding) and lo and behold, Excel adds them all up for you.

Then once you’ve done that for each character, highlight the whole spreadsheet and click on Chart Wizard and you will have the info in graph form. Splendid! You can do this just on simple totals, or you can really drill down and see which chapters are hogged by which character. Watch out, or you’ll soon be hooked.


Anita Burgh said...

Wow. I've got to have a go at that. Chart wizard too? The problem is I find myself fiddling on such projects, rather than write!

Carolin said...

You are wayyyy too organized *grin*