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Anonymous Traveler
01-31-2007, 12:39 AM
I plugged several works into this program and sat back. I see the words I've abused to distraction and my overly long sentences. But a couple of readings confuse me on a 40,000 word work.

Complexity is 23% and readability is 5.9. Most word occurrences are less than 0.6% except the MC name.
Do these reading really mean something? :flag:

Siddow
01-31-2007, 01:23 AM
I'm not familiar with the program, but my understanding of the complexity level is that your figure means that 77% of whatever they're comparing yours to (published novels? other users?) are more complex. Meaning bigger words, mostly.

As far as readability, what is their scale? I'm thinking of the Flesh-Kincaid grade level, according to the stats you provided, which would mean it is comprehensible to someone in the ninth month of fifth grade.

Medievalist
01-31-2007, 02:55 AM
No; really, they're bogus algorithms that are hopelessly outdated, based on two sets of "readability" formulae; you can do much the same thing in MSWord.

Anonymous Traveler
01-31-2007, 03:02 AM
If nothing I see my usage of words and the too long sentence. I notice it and MS are off on word count. The real test is the editor and reader. But not all useless statistics are useless. It's a tool with some applications.

Namatu
01-31-2007, 03:06 AM
The readability score really depends on what they're comparing your text against, what "library" they're drawing on for comparison, if you will. Take any result with a grain of salt. I've run well-accepted middle school content through a text analyzer and been told it was upper level high school in readability. The users and market said otherwise.

Medievalist
01-31-2007, 03:09 AM
If nothing I see my usage of words and the too long sentence. I notice it and MS are off on word count. The real test is the editor and reader. But not all useless statistics are useless. It's a tool with some applications.

I've written them, and really, the underlying logic, and the way the formulas are used, and the way the results depend on the corpus that the engine uses as a base . . .

They're bogus because they never provide the full context; they're also bogus because they're based on data from the 1940s and 1950s.

Anonymous Traveler
01-31-2007, 07:24 AM
OK now I have determined it has limited, if any value. Can you suggest an alternative? Is there one? My best use is for repeated words and the long sentence but that's mostly mechanical.
Big Blue can play chess but not read a book I guess. :flag:

Bayou Bill
01-31-2007, 07:56 AM
I believe word frequency is the only function not found in MSWord. The trick to using any such program, is to be aware of the perameters you've set and don't fall into the trap of letting it dictate your style.

Try running excerpts from some novels similar to what you're working on through the program and compare the results to what your writing has gotten.

Bayou Bill :cool:

Medievalist
01-31-2007, 08:12 AM
Roger Carlson, the Tech support Mod, has written some MSWord macros that might be useful--and you can pretty extensively customize the MSWord grammar and style checker.

Take a look here (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11653).

But honestly, my best advice is to read Lanham's Revising Prose and his Analyzing Prose.

Anonymous Traveler
01-31-2007, 08:56 AM
Roger Carlson, the Tech support Mod, has written some MSWord macros
But honestly, my best advice is to read Lanham's Revising Prose and his Analyzing Prose.

The macro link is added to my resource file but I may be back since I haven't played with macros for a looong time.

I thought my town was on the ball. I don't know whats in our library but it's never anything I want and of course our Chapters affiliate is all special order for everything I look for. Second biggest city in the region and the streets are empty.

Having everything embedded is Word would make it easier. I have 2000 at home and 2003 at work.

Again thanks

Medievalist
01-31-2007, 09:16 AM
There are also more academic sorts of programs . . . but you kinda have to be a geek to use them. There may be a version of Grammatica for Windows . . . I worked on it years ago, and don't know if it's available now for Windows. Word Perfect has a much better text analysis engine and grammar checker than Word.

Anonymous Traveler
01-31-2007, 05:39 PM
There may be a version of Grammatica for Windows . . .

It is available (http://www.ultralingua.com/en/products.php?productId=30718ULGERGRAMWin) for all of $30. Having a collection of specialty tools from my pre-retirement craft I am coming to the realization that writing books are my new tools. After that little Epiphany I realized I have 15 cartons of old tech manuals, some of which have been used only once in 20 years. Empty shelf and refill it. Onward....

Medievalist
01-31-2007, 06:45 PM
It is available (http://www.ultralingua.com/en/products.php?productId=30718ULGERGRAMWin) for all of $30. Having a collection of specialty tools from my pre-retirement craft I am coming to the realization that writing books are my new tools. After that little Epiphany I realized I have 15 cartons of old tech manuals, some of which have been used only once in 20 years. Empty shelf and refill it. Onward....

Yeah, really, books are good. Do check out Lanham's Revising Prose and Analyzing Prose.

Anonymous Traveler
01-31-2007, 08:01 PM
Yeah, really, books are good. Do check out Lanham's Revising Prose and Analyzing Prose.

His books at my library, Revising business prose and Style; an anti-textbook. Too bad I've pared my business writing, but I have a promotional brochure project so maybe I'll snag that one.

Medievalist
01-31-2007, 08:25 PM
His books at my library, Revising business prose and Style; an anti-textbook. Too bad I've pared my business writing, but I have a promotional brochure project so maybe I'll snag that one.

Style: An Anti-text is really about the way composition is taught; it's good, but likely won't do much for you.

Revising Prose and Revising Business prose do pretty much the same thing, but with different examples. If you're a fiction writer, Analyzing Prose is potentially really really exciting, though it's sometimes difficult; it's about style and prose and audience, and how to control your style.

Anonymous Traveler
01-31-2007, 08:56 PM
Hmmm. can't seem to find it. This is link (http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/35/search?sc=Richard+A.+Lanham&sf=Author) to our Chapter's maybe I'm looking at wrong title.

But then if I realized I'm looking for TWO DIFFERENT books. I found them.

Jamesaritchie
01-31-2007, 09:08 PM
The numbers are not bogus, and are extremely helpful. Just because they're based on data from the 40s and 50s means nothing. They're still used, and contrary to what many may think, they're still being tested and updated constantly

If you don't think they work, forget about good writing. Find some writing that flunks the test and see how you like reading it. I guarantee you won't.