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  • Gratuitously obfuscative of Harold`s Cross
    by GaiusCoffey at 14:32 on 03 February 2013
    Just for a laugh, I ran one of my more experimental stories through Word's reading stats thing and found it has a Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of... Ahem... 58.2. (But 0 passive sentences, so that's ok then. )

    Quite apart from the age-innappropriate subject matter for the story, based on the typical age of a 58th grade student in the USA, I was curious what that might mean, so I looked up the definition... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flesch–Kincaid_readability_test

    Having, only the previous day, been involved in a lengthy thread about sentence length in which an easily understood 140 word sentence from Tristram Shandy was quoted, it was easy for me to write off the FK formula as bunkum.


    FK seems to get a lot of air time and sentence length, especially amongst tech training companies, is also a hot topic so...

    Am I being blinkered in writing off writing stats like this as essentially flawed and meaningless?

    Do any of you use them for anything whatsoever?

    Have you ever been tormented by people that do?
  • Re: Gratuitously obfuscative of Harold`s Cross
    by EmmaD at 14:59 on 03 February 2013
    Totally, completely and utterly pointless for creative writing, I would say. It's a different game.

    Applying something like this to creative writing is a bit like running Irving Welsh through a spellchecker or Ulysses through a grammar-checker: missing the point.

    Spellcheckers are a handy way of picking up typos, but of course they also give a false sense of security, because they don't pick up homophones or any other typo which makes a real, other, word, and they don't teach you anything unless you set to understand the reason for each time it picks up an error.

    So, I suppose, FK might have some low-level usefulness for non-creative writing, for people who have to write things more sophisticated or complex than they feel confident handling.

    A better option would be to learn to do it properly, of course.
  • Re: Gratuitously obfuscative of Harold`s Cross
    by GaiusCoffey at 17:27 on 03 February 2013
    If I have the correct Mr Welsh, then he would probably score quite well on the FK reading ease and grade scores;
    Choose a life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television.

    Nice short sentences with not too many syllables per word.
  • Re: Gratuitously obfuscative of Harold`s Cross
    by EmmaD at 18:28 on 03 February 2013
    My fingers typed Irving when I meant Irving - I was thinking of Trainspotting et all.

    They'd ha'e troubl wi' Rabbie Burns, tae be sure...


    when I meant Irvine
  • Re: Gratuitously obfuscative of Harold`s Cross
    by GaiusCoffey at 23:54 on 03 February 2013
    Quite. Low syllable count not always akin to reading ease.
  • Re: Gratuitously obfuscative of Harold`s Cross
    by CatherineZ at 09:49 on 04 February 2013
    I use this scale because I write kids' books but only as a reference. I don't get too bothered if the scale isn't on target because kids today are different and you get a variety of reading abilities at certain ages.
  • Re: Gratuitously obfuscative of Harold`s Cross
    by GaiusCoffey at 12:42 on 04 February 2013
    I was interested to see how low Dr Seuss, Green Eggs and Ham scored on this. Actually, very surprised.

    It is starting to make sense as an "indicator", assuming you compare similar styles for similar purposes.
    EG: No point saying "Aim for a score of 7.6" but, maybe, "I'm going in the right direction if changes have reduced me from 18 to 7" or, more likely, "I'm going in the wrong direction if I've increased the score as high as 58.2".