Find your inner Hemingway

Hats off to the Hemingway App.

I ran across this gem over at Paperback Writer and it’s too good not to share.

This writing analyzer is far better than the spelling/grammar/readability checker built into Microsoft Word. Hemingway App shows you where the problems are and adjusts your score as you edit. Hemingway breaks your sentences down into “hard to read” and “very hard to read.” It tracks adverbs and adjectives. It shows you passive voice.

It also gives you a meter to show the grade level reading level for the passage.

This kind of works and kind of doesn’t. I found a chunk of Hemingway (himself) and pasted it into Hemingway App. Two of Hemingway’s own sentences are “very hard to read” and require “reading at a post-college level.”

A tough sentence here and there is OK. The great part of Hemingway is showing your when you’ve got three or four tough sentences strung together.

The place this app has been the most helpful to me is in the day job. In my fundraising role, I write our direct mail appeal letters. Direct mail fundraising is its own particular challenge, to use a page or two to write a compelling letter to a wide audience of potential donors that will inspire them to go find their checkbook or credit card to make a donation.

Since fundraising writing gets a bit myopic, Hemingway shows me where my writing gets convoluted because I know the topic too well.

This blog post? Eighth-grade reading level with one very hard to read sentence. I’ll take it.

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