I have a new contract with Red Line. This one isn’t for Abdo but Norwood Press. The reading level is lower and the book is much shorter than the ones that I write for Abdo. The elements present in each chapter are also somewhat different. This means that I’m going to have to make adjustments to how I normally write. But that’s all part of the business so I’m okay with that.
That said, it is going to be a fairly serious adjustment. I’ve gotten used to what Abdo wants and can hit close to the word count and the reading level with little adjustment.
So far I have just over half of chapter 1 written for the Norwood Press book. My first drafts are always something of a hot mess but that’s okay. I can’t fix it until I have it down.
Each chapter needs to be something like 750 words total. With slightly over half of the chapter drafted, I have something like 600 words. My first section is WAY too long. That’s okay. I’ll cut it back once I have a full draft of the chapter. First I’ll smooth things out. Then I’ll print the chapter out and start cutting. Cutting is always easiest on a hard copy.
Just for fun, I checked the reading level. It is supposed to be 5.5 – 7.0. I had forgotten so that it could run as high as 7.0 so I panicked a bit when the ATOS test gave it 7.3. I prefer to be closer to the middle of the range so I’ll play with that once I have the word count right.
Making it shorter may fix part of the reading level issue. Shorter sentences tend to have a lower reading level. I’ll also look for complex sentences and simplify them. Then I’ll take a hard look at the vocabulary. Some of it I can’t help. Unfortunately, I have to include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Too bad it wasn’t Yale.
Fortunately, I like playing with this sort of thing. For me, it’s a game to hone my work to fit a series and an audience with a particular reading level. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to finish blowing my word count on this chapter so that I can begin fixing it.