To test it, I plugged in part of my new work in progress (WIP), Brigitte’s Battle. The score: Grade level 7, readability score 65. So it’s a fairly easy read.
When I plugged in the blog post before this one, its scores were very different. Grade level 10, readability score 45. Still readable, but not quite as easy.
So, today’s tip for writing (and life in general): KISS – Keep It Simple, Sweetie. My college journalism professor always told us to use short paragraphs, short sentences, short words, and the language your readers speak instead of foreign words.
That was for newspaper writing. In this day of blogging and e-books, it’s still good advice. Long paragraphs take up most of an e-reader’s screen. Short ones are better both for the eyes and the brain. Long sentences lose a reader (think Jane Austen). Long words will frustrate or pull the reader out of the story to look up the definition.
Do I always follow the “no foreign words” advice? Nope. In Chantal’s Call (shameless plug alert: click photo on sidebar to purchase), there’s some Spanish and a little Cajun French in the dialog. I did it to add flavor and depth to my characters.
So, to sum up: if we want our work to be readable, we need to keep it simple. Not dumb it down, but write to our readers instead of at them.
By the way, this post’s scores (not including this sentence and the stats below):
With HTML code left in it: Grade level 10, readability 46.
With code deleted: Grade level 10, readability 53.
Code in: Grade level 8, readability 52.
Code out: Grade level 8, readability 63.
The difference: I took out about 100 words and shortened several sentences.
Lesson for the day: KISS your writing and make it all better.