A New Writer’s Tool: Glossary Generator

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From author James Murdo via Indies Unlimited:

Writers face competing demands for their time, many of which are highly manual and slow processes. One such process, which is especially important for Science Fiction writers, is glossary generation. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a simple piece of software to speed this up? Well, that’s what ‘Glossary Generator’ is for. Simply input your manuscript and wait for the generator to do its work!

. . . .

As an author of what has been referred to as “cerebral sci-fi”, I include glossaries in my books to remind and provide additional information to readers. However, this was not initially the case.

When I first received the feedback from my proof-readers and editor that ‘your book needs a glossary’, I was relatively disheartened. Another lengthy process! It took some time, but I was very pleased with the outcome. Furthermore, the response was singularly positive: everyone, from the proof-readers and editor to the final readers themselves really liked it too. Now, every single one of my books contains a glossary.

Then why complain, James?

(1) The creation of glossaries is tedious and slow.
(2) You don’t want to miss important terms by accident.

The creation of Glossary Generator

After four books, I decided to do something to address my issues with the glossary creation process. I wrote a computer program to do it for me. Initially, the program sat idly as code on my computer without a proper user-friendly interface, patiently waiting to be run on my unsuspecting Word files. However, I realised the program could be used to help other authors too. I put a user interface together and called it ‘Glossary Generator’! Following this, creating the glossaries for my last two books (shameless plug: Siouca Remembers is just out…) was far simpler.

. . . .

The Glossary Generator can be used to create a glossary from scratch, although you should sense-check the results. Some words may be incorrectly flagged as glossary terms (i.e. if they are obscure), or you may simply not wish to include them for whatever reason, since determining which terms should be included is subjective. On the other hand, the generator may fail to find some terms you wish to be included (that have no “flaggable” characteristics to alert the Glossary Generator). Personally, I find the glossary generator has a 90-95% hit rate before I use any of its “additional parameters”. An additional benefit of the software is that it can help you to identify errors – for example, if you have a character called “Oberon” and you misspell the name once, as “Oberin”, the Glossary Generator will display both.

Identified terms are displayed in alphabetical order within the program, which can be copied and pasted elsewhere, and there is also the option to export them to a text file. Please note – the Glossary Generator identifies terms, but it does not write their descriptions for you. To complete your glossary, you will then need to write the descriptions for each term.

Link to the rest at Indies Unlimited

PG was surprised that Microsoft hadn’t included a glossary generator in MS Word. You can use the Word Table of Authorities generator (a Table of Authorities is a portion of a legal document used by some attorneys on occasion) to sort of help you create a glossary, but it’s a definite kludge.

Here’s a link to James Murdo’s books

And his latest book: