East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Words & Numbers – running my stories through the FK Test

Leave a comment

So, yesterday I discovered this java thingie that runs a text through the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Tests.

Now, the Flesch-Kincaid tests are basically algorithms that express through a number the readability and the grade level of a text.

It has been pointed out that the numbers may have a less than intuitive value – writing at a grade level of 4 does not mean that you are writing “for fourth graders”, in other words.
Hemingway scored a full 4, after all, in terms of grade level.


So, of course, I found the app, I ran my texts through it.
What else would anybody do?

First, the Aculeo & Amunet stories.
The grade results range from a 4.2 for the latest, as yet unpublished The Altar of the Toad, to a whopping 8.49 for Bride of the Swamp God.
In general, it looks like the complexity of my stories has been growing lower with each new episode.
The readability remains in the mid-range, the level considered suitable for 13-15 years old.

Then, The Ministry of Thunder.
My pulp novel scores a 5.26 grade, with a readability ease of 79.83.
It is, from a purely mathematical point of view, an easy book.
Good for teenagers.
Young teenagers.

And yet, I should not worry, considering that I’m solidly within the range of grade scores of most best-selling authors.


Which of course does not mean my stories are any good.
No, ok, they are good – if you don’t trust me, you can try and trust my reviewers.
But what I mean is, readability and grade level do not equal quality – but they certainly help.

And now, off to write some more.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.