VBT: Readability

VBT: Readability

      Welcome to Week Twelve of the Tasha Turner Coaching/MasterKoda VBT!

      Its excerpt week on the tour and this week I am so honored to be hosting the wise and witty author of “Once a Priest”, among others, Ed Griffin! This week, he’s discussing how being verbose versus succinct can really boost your writing! Take a look at his findings and then investigate your own style!




by Ed Griffin

      About ten years ago, I wanted to compare my writing to some others. Microsoft Word allows you to do this easily and I assume other writing programs do as well. I typed out sections of Macleans, a Canadian news magazine, and a Woman’s Day short story. I selected sections of my writing, an article and a short story. Then I clicked on TOOLS and then on GRAMMAR AND SPELLING. The program checked the document or the section I’d selected. I clicked IGNORE all the things the program pointed out until I got to the end. What I received is below:

      You will get this information for your writing plus more rating systems and their meanings.

Readability Statistics Ed Article Ed Short Story Macleans Woman’s Day Short Story
Words 807 1307 1317 2579
Characters 3515 5653 7177 11328
Paragraphs 15 50 11 92
Sentences 71 144 52 198
Sentences per paragraph 4.7 2.9 4.7 2.2
Words per sentence 11.4 9.1 25.3 13.0
Characters per word. 4.2 4.1 5.3 4.2
Passive Sentences 2% 1% 13% 1%
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level


4.6 2.9 14.2 4.8


      Words per sentence are important. The average English sentence today is 13 words.
      Passive sentences are also important. We want our writing to be active.
      And then what grade of student can read our work? You have to have two years of college to read Macleans, while anyone with a third grade education can read my story.
      Grammar checkers rate the readability of your writing in terms of grade level.
      Aim down. Take the trouble to write simply. 
      Rate your own writing. What grade level are you writing for? Do you use a lot of passive constructions?” How many words per sentence?
      Ed Griffin teaches creative writing in his community and in a federal prison in Canada. He’s written five books, three novels and two works of nonfiction. He’s an ex-everything, ex-politician, ex-businessman and ex-Catholic priest. He believes with Aristotle that “Art releases unconscious tensions and purges the soul.”

You can find Ed online at:
Facebook (Personal) / Facebook (Fan Page)
His Personal Blog
Writers Write Daily Blog
Prison Uncensored Blog
A big THANK YOU to Ed for sharing his findings with us this week. I can’t wait to go rate my writing and find out where “Incandescence” ranks on the scale. Why don’t you try it and leave a comment below with the result?

Love & Rainbows,

[Editor’s Note: You can also try an automated readability calculator here, if you don’t have access to MS Word or a similar application.

[Editor’s Note 2: My guest post will be over at Aurora Martinez’s blog this week. As soon as I have the link, you’ll find it here!]

Posted on August 12, 2012, in Guest Posts, VBT and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Great post Ed! Thanks so much for letting me host it this week.

    I did a Flesch-Kincaid test on my excerpt from last week (Summer’s Bounty over at Ravaging Thoughts) and scored 8.4.

    Interesting! I’ll definitely have to do a few more sections and figure out where the work as a whole fits.

  2. Ed, great information. I haven’t checked stats on my work in a while…think it’s time I did. I used to write on about a 5-6th grade level. Thanks for the reminder!

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