Six years ago today, I registered on WordPress. How has my writing progressed? Well, let’s see. I joined my first writing group, Writers World on Facebook, in May 2014. I submitted a 500-word extract of my draft novel, Honey ko, for critique that same day. I sat back, confident that my writing would be nominated for acclaim and recognition.
Hoo boy. Was I wrong. Although the Group administrator told me I had “good cadence,” my first real critique came back at, oh, 1500 words or so. I was devastated! What? I’m not the newest Hemingway? Dickens? F. Scott?
It was true. My writing was full of adverbs, passive usage, lengthy sentences full of twists and turns, and staging! Geez, I had no idea what staging was until I received my critiquer’s dissertation.
Thankfully, Writers World and all of its wonderful writers had the patience of Job as they taught me the rules of good writing. I learned to critique too and spent waaaaaay too much time critiquing when I should have been writing. I did, however, pause writing my novel until I gained the confidence and skills necessary to write a novel an agent would want to take a chance at representing. I stopped writing for a year and a half before continuing.
So, how much have I learned? I bought the Hemingway Editor program today and pasted my novel into it. Here’s what Hemingway has to say:
Grade 3 – Good
551 adverbs. Aim for 1 or fewer.
189 uses of passive voice, meeting the goal of 1763 or fewer.
126 phrases have simpler alternatives.
493 of 8814 sentences are hard to read.
258 of 8814 sentences are very hard to read.
The Grade 3 stat was hard to swallow until I realized it doesn’t correlate exactly to the comprehension of third graders.
My adverb use is down significantly from what it was in 2014.
Passive voice? Much, much better.
The “simpler alternatives,” “hard to read” and “very hard to read” stats caught me off guard, but it makes sense: I have a knack for wordiness.
I’m glad for a program like Hemingway that can point those issues out. It disturbs me though, that I have to write in the Hemingway program. I wish it were more like Grammarly and edited in Word.
All in all, I’m happy I spent the few dollars to check my writing. I have one chapter left to revise and I’ll be ready to edit. I’m drawing nearer to the day I send my query letter off to Molly 🙂