Wednesday seems like a good day to talk about what I’ve done in the last two days and what I want to do in the next two days. This assumes, of course, a normal five-day work week. Not true but let’s pretend that I only work five days per week.
On Monday, I decided to analyze the book, Along Came a Spider by one of my favorite authors, James Patterson. Patterson is a favorite for several reasons. He’s a prolific author. He is a terrific writer. He has written 19 books about the hero of this book, Alex Cross, a Washington DC detective. He writes chapters of about 3 to 4 pages in length.
I’ll cheat a little bit on my five-day workweek and reveal that I began my analysis with the Prologue of the book on Sunday. This is the way the analysis is proceeding. (It may change as I get more experience.)
This is the way the analysis is proceeding. (It may change as I get more experience.)
As I’ve stated before, I have a goal of writing at least 750 words (or more) every day. For well over a year, I “wrote” with my keyboard instead of with pen and paper. Since I learned how to touch type in high school, I have not done too much traditional writing. I can type faster than I can write. And I like the ability to edit as I write. Not recommended by writing teachers but hey, that’s the way I learned to write in volume and I’m not going to stop now.
Now, whenever I can, instead of tappity, tappity, tap on the keyboard, I dictate to my iMac using Dragon Dictate, the Macintosh version of Dragon Naturally Speaking. Instead of 750 or so words a day, I can easily knock out about 2,000 words in the same amount of time if my mind is up to it.
And instead of the traditional paper or text editor file, I use Scrivener, an application created especially for writers. It is a very visual record of the entire writing process – the text, images, notes, chapters, all in the same place. I like that. It keeps me from wasting time trying to find where I have filed various parts of my work.
Back to the Prologue. This was not my usual original work. I fired up Dragon Dictate, opened Scrivener, created a project called AlongCameASpider, created a file called Prologue and began to dictate.
Sometimes, the dictation is not 100% accurate. I use a website called grammarly.com to check the grammar and spelling of everything I write/dictate. I know it’s probably a bit presumptuous to check an author of James Patterson’s stature, but I need to get a feel for his style. The analysis of the Prologue content shows an occasional use of passive voice, a missing hyphenation or two, stand-alone phrases. No problem because this is also the way I write. Just checking to get a feel for his style.
Statistics are more meaningful to me at this time than how Patterson writes. I go to a website called readability-score.com and submit what I’ve written for statistical analysis. Below is the result of what I got after dictating the Prologue.
Average Grade Level 5.9
Character Count 3,341
Syllable Count 1,050
Word Count 770
Sentence Count 74
Characters per Word 4.3
Syllables per Word 1.4
Words per Sentence 10.4
During this process, I lost a bit of my objectivity when I began to get very interested in the story being told. I wanted to continue reading. But I decided to limit myself to one chapter a day – to read, to measure, to document, to anticipate the next day’s offering.
On Monday, I followed the same process with Chapter 1. Patterson got a bit wordier than he had been with the Prologue. Here are the results of Chapter 1.
Average Grade Level 5.1
Character Count 3,132
Syllable Count 1,039
Word Count 787
Sentence Count 77
Characters per Word 4.0
Syllables per Word 1.3
Words per Sentence 10.2
Just about the same number of words as he wrote in the Prologue.
On Tuesday, I dictated Chapter 2.
Average Grade Level 5.1
Character Count 6,063
Syllable Count 1,949
Word Count 1,467
Sentence Count 170
Characters per Word 4.1
Syllables per Word 1.3
Words per Sentence 8.6
He wrote almost twice as many words here as he did in the Prologue and Chapter 1.
Today, Thursday and Friday, I will dictate Chapters 3, 4, and 5 and see how the numbers stack up.
I’m not only reading and writing about Along Came a Spider, I’m also studying Google things, like Google+, Google Hangouts, Google Hangouts on Air. I’m participating in a pilot sleep and brain fitness program. I’m involved almost daily in the company of my main munchkin, 3-year-old Thomas. And, oh yeah, I’m redesigning my website with the intent of creating a step-by-step basic WordPress tutorial.
So what will I be doing the rest of my “work week?” Watching and listening to videos about what I’ve studied in the first two weeks of my Plus Your Business Course. Watching and listening to videos about what I’ve studied in the first two weeks of my Hangout Mastery course. Creating and documenting steps in the creation of this website. Reveling in a couple of hours a day with my youngest grandson.
Life is good.