Readability

 

I just wrote an opening paragraph in my notebook. Don’t know where it’s going at this stage. But this is what I wrote:

“More rats, these days. Don’t know what that means. One just ran across the pavement. They’ve got bolder. That one’s looking at me. Up on its hind legs. They never used to come outside. Have to set more traps.”

Just for fun, I thought I’d check it for readability on one of the online readability checkers. Here’s what it said:

“Your grade is about four; the same reading level as Charlotte’s Web and the lyrics to ‘Baby one more time’ by Britney Spears.”.

Well I’ve never heard Britney Spears mentioned in the same sentence as E. B. Whiyte. I wonder, should she be flattered, or should he be worried, or should all three of us give up? Generally, the assumption with these readability checkers is that the lower the score, the more readable is the text. Of course, that was only the first paragraph. I ran mine through my own, deaktop readability checker: “Hemingway”. It geve it a rating of “O”. The very pinacle of readability. I ran the opening page of James Joyce’s Ulysses through the online readability checker and it said it was at the same level of difficulty as Harry Potter. But of course, these are openings. Openings have to be easy to read, to draw the reader in. I ran the first page of chapter 2 of Ulysses through Hemingway, it scored 0. And you thought that Joyce was difficult? Well, some of it is. It varies. But you might be reading it wrong. Try reading it in an Irish brogue. Ulysses is a very funny book. Honest!

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About Zoe Nightingale

I am a writer of short stories, novels, poetry and non fiction.
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