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Azure Skye
01-24-2007, 11:22 PM
Last night as I finished fixing up some stuff in my WIP I did a grammar/spell check and noticed the Reading Ease in the results. Usually I don't even pay attention to this and think it's just another number. Meh. Last night I paid attention to it and wondered if it really should carry any weight.

Now, I realize one shouldn't rely on Word as a way of judging everything you write and I know from experience they very often miss the boat on grammar, but is the Flesch Reading Ease important? I mean, I've gotten low "scores" on reading ease and I've gotten very high ones and have noticed the difference.

GPatten
01-24-2007, 11:41 PM
Iíve heard the Flesch-Kincaid Grade level is the most important and Iíve heard if you can keep it above 9, youíve done well. I think the Flesch Reading Ease has some merit, but Iím not sure Iím right.

As to the rest of Microsoftís Words tools, I use it, but sometimes I canít rely on it.

TheIT
01-24-2007, 11:41 PM
There have been a few threads discussing Flesch-Kincaid numbers. Here's a good one which might give another starting point for discussion:

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=40843&highlight=flesch

Soccer Mom
01-25-2007, 12:24 AM
I write in an active voice with lots of dialogue which dramatically lowers my score to around 3-4th grade. But I've heard that this is where most people function best. I write genre and I write for people to read, so my F-K rating is just about right.

Jamesaritchie
01-25-2007, 12:32 AM
Iíve heard the Flesch-Kincaid Grade level is the most important and Iíve heard if you can keep it above 9, youíve done well. I think the Flesch Reading Ease has some merit, but Iím not sure Iím right.

As to the rest of Microsoftís Words tools, I use it, but sometimes I canít rely on it.

For fiction, keeping it below grade level 9 is what most good writers do. Just as examples, Hemingway's fiction generally comes in around grade four to grade five, Stephen King's comes in around grade seven, and so does Ray Bradbury's. Even Shakespeare comes in at around grade six. Darn few good fiction writers write above grade level 8.

When writing gets above grade level 8, it often means the writer is using needlessly complex words.

Writing at sixth grade level does not mean you're writing for sixth graders, it only means most of the words you use can be read by the average sixth grader. They may not understand the content of the writing at all, but they can read the words. This is a good thing.

The reading ease does have merit. It means you construct sentences and paragraphs in a way the average reader like be able to understand without undue trouble.

TwentyFour
01-25-2007, 12:50 AM
My Microsoft Word doesn't have that Flesch Kincaid thingy on it?

PeeDee
01-25-2007, 01:13 AM
Meh. I'm fairly accepting of most programs now for my stories (sometimes, I'll even turn on the grammar check on for whole minutes at a time) but the readability thing is one thing I still am uninterested in. I checked it once, my grade level was a nice comfortable level, and I don't care beyond that. Mostly, I see if my stories sell, and if someone can read them without going "What...?"

That's godo enough for me.

Says Pete, who is probably a luddite at heart... :)

jodiodi
01-25-2007, 01:36 AM
Where I work (a Behavioral Health Organization, i.e., managed care for BH), we have to make anything we send to members (patients) be at or below the 6th grade leve. Do you know how hard it is to do that when you're discussing medical conditions, recovery and resiliancy, telemedicine, consent decree termination rights, privacy and confidentiality policies, services for dual-diagnosis clients, etc.,? Our corporate offices and our CMCs each have staff who do nothing but translate information into 6th grade language. I tried and it was the hardest thing I've done in my job. Everything about what I wrote in the desired language screamed 'wrong, WRONG, WRONG!!'

Azure Skye
01-25-2007, 02:55 AM
The reading ease does have merit. It means you construct sentences and paragraphs in a way the average reader like be able to understand without undue trouble.

What is a good percentage to aim for? The last chapter I checked had a Reading Ease of 92%. Should was always aim for 100% or is that just too unrealistic?