JopoRyk (joporyk) wrote,

IWL and Flescher-Kincaid

I read in Writer's Digest about a site called I WRITE LIKE ( which purports to analyze your writing and tell you which author you write most like. I entered the text of several things I have written and find that, overall, my writing is most like J.D. Salinger's. Different pieces offered J.R.R. Tolkein, Annie [sic] Rice, Stephanie Meyer, George Orwell, and Ray Bradbury, but several suggested the Salinger connection.

I don't know how much I believe in that site, though. For example, the Stephanie Meyer connection came with my short story "Cycles," which is about werewolves. So if it just looks for keywords then it really doesn't do what it says it does.

Doing this, however, reminded me of MS Word's readability statistics. You can set Word to tell you what grade level your writing is at; just follow these steps:

1. Click the Microsoft Office Button, and then click Word Options.
2. Click Proofing.
3. Make sure Check grammar with spelling is selected.
4. Under When correcting grammar in Word, select the Show readability statistics check box.
5. Click F7 to check your spelling and grammar, and a box will pop up at the end.

For my short story "Grandpa Cliche," I get the following information:

Words: 1054
Characters: 4425
Paragraphs: 27
Sentences: 65

Sentences per Paragraph:2.6
Words per Sentence: 16.1
Characters per Word: 4.0

Passive Sentences: 3%
Flesch Reading Ease: 81.0
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 5.9

In contrast, a paper called "Image Clusters as Proof of Shakespearean Authorship" I wrote for my Editing Shakespeare graduate-level class had the following statistics:

Words: 2847
Characters: 14995
Paragraphs: 39
Sentences: 107

Sentences per Paragraph: 5.6
Words per Sentence: 25.0
Characters per Word: 5.1

Passive Sentences: 13%
Flesch Reading Ease: 37.9
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 13.6

I think this is a valuable tool and am glad I remembered it; I hope you will try it out too (and remember: the average reading level in the United States is 4th grade).
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