Word Repetition Counter: A Little Tool for Writers

I’m having a heck of a time coming up with a post this week. So, here! Check out this Word Repetition Counter I made!

Screenshot that reads 'Word Repetition Counter. Do you use the same words over and over? Paste in some text and see which words you use the most.'
Click to see the actual tool!

Warning: I made it in JavaScript. I’m very new at JavaScript. If you break it, I won’t be surprised. Just tell me so I can fix it.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Paste in a part of your novel. (I usually do one chapter or scene at a time.)
  2. Click “See what words you use the most!”
  3. It’ll count how many times you use each word and put them in the “results” column. Click on each word to highlight it in the text.

Optionally, you can click “Remove Common Words” to remove words like the or a, or “Hide Words Only Used Once” to remove words you only used once, since… well, you’re obviously not using those words too many times, right?

How does this help?

It highlights specific words so you can see, visually, how often they appear and how close they are to each other.

Sometimes this is fine. Repetition isn’t always a problem. Sometimes the story is perfectly fine just the way it is, even if you used a somewhat distinct word seven times in 4,000 words.

Sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes you get stuck on a word and your character lurches five times on a page or absolutely everything in a room is brilliant. This kind of repetition can stand out if you use a word multiple times in a sentence, or in multiple consecutive sentences… but it can be harder to see if it’s spread out over a few paragraphs, or a page or two.

This tool is not pointing out “problems” that you need to “fix.” It’s just a tool to help identify when you might be getting stuck on a word.

Why did I make this?

When Justice Unending was being edited by Evernight Teen, this is something the editor did for me. Whenever I got stuck on a word–which was surprisingly often–she’d highlight every instance of it in MS Word.

And it was great! Sometimes I just didn’t see this stuff. “Her breath caught in her throat,” “she drew in a breath,” “her breath shook…” It all feels like I’m saying different things, until I use the word “breath” a dozen times in a 3,000-word chapter. Seeing it on paper, with color, helped me see when I was using a word a lot.

I don’t know what tool she used. (Maybe she did it manually. Ugh.) But I thought it was cool. And since I’ve been studying JavaScript, I decided to make my own program that did this automatically.

And here it is!

Tell me if you find it useful!

I really just made this so I could practice JavaScript. But if you use it, and if it’s useful, tell me! I’d love to know that something I made was useful.

And if you manage to break it, tell me.

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