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Be a Better Writer--A FEW LOOSE ENDS

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

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swfdoc1
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Re: Be a Better Writer--A FEW LOOSE ENDS

Postby swfdoc1 » Tue Jun 03, 2014 4:03 pm

WriterFearNot wrote:Question: is there a way to get straight to the readability statistics? It seems like I have to go through the entire spell check process before the score chart pops up, and that could become tedious for a long document.

Theresa


Unfortunately, not that I am aware of. Someone else here may know. Also, there may be plug-ins available that would do that but I've never looked for one.
Steve
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"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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Re: Be a Better Writer--A FEW LOOSE ENDS

Postby Shann » Tue Jun 03, 2014 4:39 pm

Thanks for that information on Word, Steve. I have never seen it, and I'm eager to try it out. I'm especially excited by the reading grade level because my favorite genre is children's books. The experts encourage writers to keep sentence length under 11 words with shorter paragraphs too. Of course it can vary if writing for a three-year-old nonreader or an eight-year-old middle reader.

I'm thinking this tool will come in handy, not only with my writing, but with my editing as well.
Shann

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Re: Be a Better Writer--A FEW LOOSE ENDS

Postby glorybee » Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:07 pm

Just don't get too hooked on it. As Steve said, it makes mistakes, just as spell-check and grammar-check programs make mistakes. It's interesting and somewhat useful, but it's no substitute for actual knowledge. More importantly, it can't take art or writer's intuition into account, nor can it allow for deliberate breaking of the rules as in the past few lessons here. I wouldn't want anyone to start feeling as if they had to adjust their writing to a specific reading level or # of words per sentence or sentences per paragraph in order to meet some perceived criterion of this little tool. It's just that--one tool among many.

Certainly if you're writing a children's book, and this says you're writing at 10th grade level, you'll want to do some adjustment. Conversely, if you're writing a Bible study for mature Christians and your grade level shows up as 2.1, there may be a problem.
Jan Ackerson

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Re: Be a Better Writer--A FEW LOOSE ENDS

Postby Shann » Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:28 pm

I totally understand and would use it as a guide for those times when I feel something is off but can't quite figure it out. :D
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Re: Be a Better Writer--A FEW LOOSE ENDS

Postby swfdoc1 » Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:27 pm

I agree with Jan about the reading level--I virtually never pay attention to it. I do pay a lot of attention to the number of words per sentence. The average numbers that I mentioned, I've seen for LOTS of types of writing. However, never for children's book or for passages with lots of dialog.
Steve
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"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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Re: Be a Better Writer--A FEW LOOSE ENDS

Postby lish1936 » Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:02 pm

Jan wrote:That's still not quite what's happening in my story, though.


Ah! I think the light dawns. It's the story, stupid (Lillian). You have to have some inkling of the narrative because that will determine the words. :roll:

I suppose I should look no further than my "signature" quote by Flaherty that echoes Mark Twain's words..."Scrutinize them...until you see their subtle differences."

Lillian
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I write even when I think I can't, because I must. :-)

I love to write. Nothing escapes the crush I have on the written word. I'm hooked on words!!

"Let words bewitch you. Scrutinze them, mull them, savor them, and in combination, until you see their subtle differences and the ways they tint each other." Francis Flaherty

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Re: Be a Better Writer--A FEW LOOSE ENDS

Postby glorybee » Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:06 pm

lish1936 wrote:
Jan wrote:I suppose I should look no further than my "signature" quote by Flaherty that echoes Mark Twain's words..."Scrutinize them...until you see their subtle differences."

Lillian


Exactly! Great quote, by the way.
Jan Ackerson

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Re: Be a Better Writer--A FEW LOOSE ENDS

Postby RachelM » Fri Jul 18, 2014 1:48 am

I love your advice for adverb and adjective use. It's so sensible! You have a gift for making the light bulb come on in my brain, Jan! :idea:
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Re: Be a Better Writer--A FEW LOOSE ENDS

Postby swfdoc1 » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:36 pm

How NOT to get rid of adverbs explained here. Scroll down to "Justice Kennedy and Ernest Hemingway."
Steve
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________
"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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Re: Be a Better Writer--A FEW LOOSE ENDS

Postby glorybee » Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:05 pm

Thanks for the link, Steve. I never thought I'd find legal reading interesting! (I am a bear of very little brain.)
Jan Ackerson

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