1. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Anyone use the Hemmingway app?

    Discussion in 'Software' started by peachalulu, Jul 7, 2015.

    I'm starting my new novel and some of my fragments had me a tad worried. I'm on another site as well and someone mentioned that all newbies should be putting there prose into the Hemmingway app before posting just to clear up some of the dumb errors. In some ways I agree with him. Just not sure if the app doesn't wield too much power over a writer to fix it until the red is gone. Is it better or just fixed. Anyway, I posted 4 paragraphs, 26 sentences and 8 sentences marked red or yellow. Two hard to read, two very hard to read. Two I knew absolutely have to be fixed. So I'm not too concerned.

    Just wondering if anyone else tests out their prose in this app - I think someone on this site mentioned Grammarly at one point. And to what extent do you take its advice? Most of my writing comes up - readability wise - as fifth grade. Not bad. My recent stuff has bumped up to eighth grade. I'm learning though the higher you go doesn't necessarily make you a better writer.

    I decided to test the app by using a snippet from Irene Iddesleigh - by Amanda McKittrick Ros - considered one of the worst writers in the world. Here's the snippet -
    All seven sentences turned red and were considered hard to read. The readability was Post-Collegiate and in brackets that means poor!
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I just tried it out - it's definitely not good at identifying passive voice - it gave two false positives for my passage. Then again, it was giving me an allowance of fourteen uses in a passage that's less than 1k words long, which makes it seem as if maybe it means something else when it says "passive voice"...?

    Overall grade 6 reading level, which it says is good - I wouldn't question that. It's not a complicated piece of writing at all. It labelled 8 of 71 sentences "very hard" to read, and I looked at them, and... no. They're not at the pinnacle of poetic or literary excellence, but they're not hard to read:

    But if there was one thing Cassidy had learned from her sister Penny, it was the power of self-delusion, so she turned her attention back to the man standing across the counter and made her smile bright and cheerful.
    -
    The lunch rush was almost over, but there were still a lot of people in the diner, finishing their meals, and listening to whatever they could manage to overhear. And since the volume of conversation had stayed artificially low since the men had arrived, the crowd could probably hear just about everything.
    -
    He turned toward the door, clearly inspecting the diner as he went and finding nothing that held his interest enough to interrupt his departure.
    -
    She rolled her eyes and turned back to her own conversation as if she’d already forgotten her brief moment of caring about Cassidy Frost.
    -
    She’d known she was taking a chance, known there might be a reason Penny had never contacted Emily’s father, never admitted she even knew who he was. But Penny was gone, and Cassidy had been sorting through her sister’s papers and found the information, and she’d sent the e-mail. ​

    So, is it useful? In so far as it encourages people to re-read their work with a critical eye, sure. But I wouldn't substitute the apps judgement for my own, that's for sure.
     
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  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Yes, I'm coming to realize the more poetic license you take the more you can confuse it. Plus it doesn't like most fragments or sentences that start with But. It's also way harsh on the word was.
    Interesting to toy with but not really to lean on.
    Sigh.
    I was hoping to find something that could help me with my grammar. My sentences can be a bit difficult when it comes to punctuating them. I suppose the easiest thing would be just write simpler sentences. But I like to push myself.
     
  4. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    I can't imagine what this thing would do to Tom Jones. From what I understand, there's been a whole echo of Hemmingway's style, that, while strives for simplicity, doesn't match the 'iceberg theory' that he introduced. I'm skeptical of simplest is best since although I'd like to be accessible as possible, do not want to come across patronizing or simplistic.
     

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