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I came across this clever (and instant) writing diagnostic by way of my friend, Don Lafferty, from Jonathan Maberry's Writer's Coffeehouse Yahoo group. 

It's by Helen Sword, and seems to be something she set up to help promote her book, The Writer's Diet.  You cut and paste up to about a thousand words of writing into the box, hit 'Run the test' and within a few moments you get a fitness report, telling you if you might have overegged the literary pudding with too many 'be' verbs; abstract nouns; prepositions etc. 
It's a lot of fun.  I tested my latest thousand-word flash, A LITTLE RETRIBUTION FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE, on it and was pleased to find that I'm a lean mean writing machine...type...thing. 

Now, if I could only get the Wii Fit to agree, I'd be well chuffed. 

If you decide to give it a go, let me know how you get on.

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( 63 comments — Leave a comment )
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Sep. 15th, 2010 03:58 pm (UTC)
We could all do with losing a bit of weight. Or a few words anyway.
Sep. 15th, 2010 04:00 pm (UTC)
Mind you, I think Helen was far too honest. If I'd written a 'How to slim down your book' guide, I'd rig the test to make sure every diagnosis was aliong the lines of 'You need help, fast!' :)

Edited at 2010-09-15 04:00 pm (UTC)
Sep. 15th, 2010 04:05 pm (UTC)
I put in the first page of my WIP and got LEAN almost across the board. To many pronouns, but it's in first person so...
Sep. 15th, 2010 04:08 pm (UTC)
Excellent! :)
Sep. 15th, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC)
Fit and trim, baby.
Sep. 15th, 2010 05:50 pm (UTC)
It's when it says 'Don't start anything longer than a drabble' that you know you're writing needs help :)
Sep. 15th, 2010 04:22 pm (UTC)
You could rig the Wii board to help with your writing.

"Step on...Ooh."

Sep. 15th, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC)
Lol, at the moment, I suspect mine would wavie it's arms and yell, 'Stranger danger! Stranger danger!' :)
Sep. 15th, 2010 04:24 pm (UTC)
Haha! The first 100 words of my wip measure lean for everything except prepositions, where they are "fit & trim."

This is a useful tool--one I will bookmark, and not just so it can flatter me. There are times when I know I go on a bit.
Sep. 15th, 2010 05:56 pm (UTC)
Yay! for 'lean' :)
Sep. 15th, 2010 05:17 pm (UTC)
I tested 514 words. (My first chapter of my first story, ever.) It had been through the writers' group critique, and I wanted to know if I could use it as a guide.

The answer is: YES! I am lean and fit (at least there) and it is an excellent guide to check myself.

This was fun, quick, and informative. Thanks, Jon!
Sep. 15th, 2010 05:55 pm (UTC)
I like clever programs like that. Now if I could only find one that makes my words interesting, I'd be on that bestseller list in no time ;)
Sep. 15th, 2010 05:18 pm (UTC)
That was AWESOME!! I plugged in my ghost story flash and was scored, "fit and trim." A very satisfying turn-out, indeed. Thanks, Jon!
Sep. 15th, 2010 05:54 pm (UTC)
On my first attempt it said, 'Go away and write it again, Lard Ass' :(
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Sep. 15th, 2010 06:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Sep. 15th, 2010 06:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Sep. 15th, 2010 06:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Sep. 15th, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Sep. 15th, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 15th, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC)
I got lean, too (the only time I'll ever get that diagnosis!). I'd like to see a sample it considered overweight.
Sep. 15th, 2010 05:53 pm (UTC)
I wonder what the triggers are for each category.
(no subject) - karen_w_newton - Sep. 15th, 2010 06:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Sep. 15th, 2010 06:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 15th, 2010 05:34 pm (UTC)
This is just awesome! Of course, I got "lean", but still...

If only it would apply to my body as well...
Sep. 15th, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC)
It's a clever little program. I wish I'd thought of it - and had the skills to have written it ;)
Sep. 15th, 2010 05:45 pm (UTC)
I was lean overall and for each individual category . . . but I'm sitting here eating chips and it made me feel guilty so I'm going to have to stop munching. ;-)
Sep. 15th, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC)
Hehehehe :)
Sep. 15th, 2010 06:12 pm (UTC)
I'm lean... That is a surprise.
Sep. 15th, 2010 06:19 pm (UTC)
Yay! Did it make you feel good? It certainly added a little sunshine to my morning :)
Sep. 15th, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC)
Totally cool. I tried two different pieces, one 250 words and the other 1200. I got lean across the board on both of them. I was surprised at how many prepositions and adverb/adjectives I use. I do wonder what it would consider heavy.
Sep. 15th, 2010 06:20 pm (UTC)
Perhaps we should have a competition to see who can break the scales :)
Sep. 15th, 2010 06:37 pm (UTC)
I tested the first scene of my UF novel, which I'm in the process of editing. Pre-edit version: fit & trim. Post-edit: lean. (In both cases, "be" verbs were "fit & trim." In pre-edit, so were prepositions. Everything else is lean.) Funny -- there were 200 more words in the post-edit version.

And I really don't need to lose words . . . I have to add thousands.
Sep. 15th, 2010 07:12 pm (UTC)
I know that feeling :)
Sep. 15th, 2010 06:39 pm (UTC)
I fed my latest (still unposted) entry for delight_in_wt into it, and got back 'lean' on everything but "to be" constructions. (Which wsere "needs toning.") Which surprised me, since I generally regard Delight as unduly long-winded and rambly. I guess not in ways this tested for. :)
Sep. 15th, 2010 07:14 pm (UTC)
It's an interesting tool. It made me think, which is always good.
Sep. 15th, 2010 07:12 pm (UTC)
Much to my surprise I'm lean across the board. Surprised, but pleased.
Sep. 15th, 2010 07:14 pm (UTC)
I'm tempted to dig out some of my early efforts, to see what it says about them,
(no subject) - mylefteye - Sep. 16th, 2010 07:51 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Sep. 16th, 2010 12:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
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( 63 comments — Leave a comment )

Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there



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