"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Proofing Tools

Writing just like pimping, ain't easy, what with all the grammar rules, punctuation and proper sentence structure.  I try and make up for what I don't know about writing by being an astute reader and observer.  The rule of thumb in this country has always been, that the average adult reads at a 7th. grade level. Most newspapers and magazines format their content along this assumption. If you're thinking "damn are we that dumb!"  Just remember that 7th graders are not as dumb as we once were, and in other countries the average is probably much lower.

I bought some software online that's supposed to help, Right Writer 6.0 is a grammar analysis tool, it checks your writing for basic errors: grammar, punctuation and spelling. You copy and paste whatever you've written onto the analysis page, you then get a summary page and suggestions on how to correct your errors. There is a scale that tells you how comprehensive your work is and at what grade level it will best be understood.

The goal is  a 7th. grade level, so if you come in high, for lack of a better phrase, you have to dumb it down. Often, what happens is you wind up gutting what you've written until it falls into the desired level. This paragraph, according to Right Writer 6.0 could be read by anyone with a 6th grade reading level or higher. The descriptive index is normal, which means the use of adjectives and adverbs is normal. The jargon index is 0.0 meaning that it's not overly wordy. 

Just for fun I started to copy and paste paragraphs from various popular authors and writers. The software found something wrong with everything I fed it, this included Pynchon, Vonnegut, Hunter Thompson, Hemingway and even Lester Bangs, who didn't do as poorly as you might imagine.. I haven't used the software in a while, It broke when I entered several paragraphs from Rudolfo Carillo's Infinity Report. Now it just flashes "analyzing" over and over. I say it's broken but it could be gaining artificial intelligence, if it does I'll have to kill it.

What I failed to see when I started my blog is that nobody likes to read anymore! I formatted my blog like a newspaper, text with pictures wrapped in text. Then as I followed other blogs I noticed that the style is to write short paragraphs with space between each one. Less text, fewer pictures, it does make for a fast, easy read and that counts with today's attention deficient masses (myself included!)  I'll try it,  new ways are often better ways.

It's a brave new world out there and those that don't change get left behind and I'm too far back as it is. I need to mosey down to the local community college and enroll in that Rhetoric and Composition class that I failed to take last year. I need professional help, I'm working on a short story and so far all I have is one run-on sentence that takes up 4 pages. Keep you pencils sharp, it's getting mighty dull around here!

"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."
Benjamin Franklin

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