I’ve posted less these last few weeks because my attention is occupied elsewhere. One focus of attention has been finishing my novel, THE SUITOR.
I’ve gone back and forth with my agent on some potential changes that might clarify, crystallize, and strengthen the story. I’ve spent hours each day writing and rewriting, trying to solve those nagging problems of narrative and character motivation. Publishing houses don’t offer much editorial support these days; they want polished manuscripts that are ready to sell.
Yet every writer needs a good editor. My agent has been helpful. She raises questions, offers ideas, carefully critiques. It’s a positive part of the writing process.
I finished another draft the other day and now the novel is in the hands of a trusted reader whose opinion I greatly value. Early returns are good. I may have something here.
The last thing I did before passing the manuscript along was to run a spelling and grammar check in Word. I got these statistics.
- Most surprising to me is the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 4.6. That means a fourth grader could understand the sentence structure and language I use. Of course, there is no way a fourth grader could read and understand the story, or even have interest in it. I guess I write in simple sentences, but that doesn’t mean simple meaning or simple story.
- I’ll pat myself on the back for not writing many passive sentences, only 3.6 percent. One of the first rules of writing: use the active voice. There are a few, but not many places where the passive voice is preferable or useful. I think it’s 3.6 percent of the time.
- Word count: 95,128. That’s my sweet spot. My shortest novel was 87,000 words, my longest 105,000.