One Writer’s Journey

December 5, 2016

Rough Draft: Word Count and Reading Level

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:45 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

wordpress-923188_1920I 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.

–SueBE

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