Entry Number Eleven. Well, technically number 9 because of the two default articles a Pivot installation starts with, but thats how far back I talked about this before. Right at the very beginning of the blog. And now, reading back there, I had noticed the deterioration back then, but didn't really pay attention to it.
The biggest problem is short sentences. Short sentences and short paragraphs, but sentences is what we'll worry about for now. The normal average for English writing is 15 words per sentence. That of course is the very short ones together with the long ones, so it balances some things out, but one of the main focuses of my English class with Mr. Thompson was long sentences. We had writing exercises daily for practicing, requiring, at the beginning, writing a sentence with at minimum 20 words, and then moving up from there. Somewhere in my box of old school papers I should have the sentence that was the class high score, one of my own sentences that if I recall correctly was somewhere in upwards of 50+ words.
The exercises were all about trying to overcome a stigma about writing, which had grown from this average. The perception becomes that sentences longer than that are simply run-on sentences, but when done correctly with proper writing styles, they are far from run-on and are in fact properly structured English sentences. The class itself was I believe a college writing course, although I had him for two different classes so I don't remember which was which. My brother is going to school there now, and I know he is still teaching there, so I am hoping my brother has him as a teacher at some point here in the next couple years so I can find out if he is still teaching that class in that fashion.
After the discussion, I began analyzing some of my documents. And, while it led me to finding a strange inconsistency between Word 2007's "Word Count" and "Readability Statistics" information, the overall consensus among all my writing projects was that my word count was way lower than I should want it to be, given my training. Adding the reported numbers from all my active writing projects together, I am sitting at a grand average of 14 words per sentence. From those numbers, the most complex is The Pocketwatch at 17.9, the actual document in question that sparked this all is at 13.1, and my grand project, Skewed, which is now at over a quarter of a million words, sits at a palsy 12.5. Skewed I'll write off because it is incredibly dialogue-based, and that hits hard for sentence average, but altogether they are very bad results.
For a matter of comparison, everything above this line sits at a high average of 23.8 words per sentence. I should do an overall blog word count some time to see what that gives me, but it sounds rather time consuming so I will do that sometime in the future.
Date posted: 27 March, 2010 Tags: personal skewed the_pocketwatch writing
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