You must be at least this tall to get on the ride

prettyarbitrary reblogged your link: How Readable is your Writing?

Ivy’s been fascinated with this thing lately,…now she’s got me stuck on it. I’ve always…

I am fascinated by Flesch-Kincaid at the moment. And about the concept of readability in general.

Someone for whom English is a second language (you know who you are) pinged me to thank me for writing stories that are so simple that she doesn’t have to struggle through them, and I was intrigued by that. I don’t know what I’m doing that’s making that work for her, though I’m thrilled to hear it.

I am keen on using the simplest possible word to get my meaning across, and I am constantly battling the desire to go all rococo when it comes to language. I love language and playing with it, but I prefer to keep it simple and unadorned in favour of meaning. (I want my over-indulgent emotional whims to shine through, dontcha know!) Possibly this is exaggerated in my case because I prefer to write first person, and I don’t think heavy-handed language suits interior monologue. In our heads, we don’t have anyone to impress. Big words are almost universally in use to ensure that someone thinks we’re smart, I’m fairly sure.

But I was not really ready for the kinds of grade-level scores I would get. When I put the last chapter of The Quiet Man (the story I’m currently working on) through it, it got a grade level of 1.72. The one before that was 0.76. And the sex scene before that one: 1.21. Always good to write a sex scene that can be read by someone in the earliest stages of elementary school, I always say! Word gives the entire thing a grade level score of 2.

I realize I’m skewing it by writing such ridiculously short sentences, but even so. That seems really, really low. I’m not entirely sure what it means. Quirky voices might always lower the grade level, I don’t know. If it means the language itself disappears more easily in favour of the meaning, then I’m very pleased. But I’m not really sure it means that.

Thus I remain quite fascinated by Flesch-Kincaid. I will remain fascinated until I can figure out what I’m supposed to do with it.