Software Recommendation: Concorder & Concorder Pro

Matt Fahrenbacher at Humongous Elephants and Tigers has come up with software I’ve been dying to get my hands on since I gave up Wordstar Pro for Amipro back in 1991.

A concordance maker.

Wordstar Pro would make concordances for you. Lists of all the words you’d used, and how often you’d used them. Amipro wouldn’t do that, Word won’t do that. And for someone who writes science fiction or fantasy (or any sort of fiction or non-fiction that uses a large, nonstandard vocabulary), software that will give you such a list is a godsend. With a list like that, you could skin out all the ordinary words, and then put together a neat, alphabetized dictionary of all your foreign words for endmatter in the back of the book. You can use such a list to find out how many times you flogged particular pet words, too. “Smiled,” for example. “Rather.”

Years I have been waiting to be able to do this again.

For Mac users at least, the wait is over. Concorder and Concorder Pro are both available as freeware (at least for the time being), and both are excellent.

Talyn is my test manuscript for things like this. If I’m going to break the program, I figure Talyn‘s 240,000 words will provide enough mass to break it. Both flavors of Concorder handled it beautifully. Both came up with the same answers on how many times I’d used certain test words. Both found a couple of missing spaces between words that would have been handy to know about when I was doing the editing. And had I had these programs while I was doing the editing, I could have put together one of those cool little dictionaries (though we were already in a page crunch, so we probably wouldn’t have had room for it). As it is, I may do one for the site around the time the book hits the shelves.

Meanwhile, if you’re a writer and you write on a Mac, hie thyself over to Humongous Elephants and Tigers and get thee copies of these two lovely software programs.

And check out all Matt Fahrenbacher’s other software while you’re there.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

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