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Sharon J's Writing Blog
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  HMB Book Covers & Some Editing
  The Luxury of Being Unpublished
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  Am No Longer Fretting
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Flesch Scores
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Do you remember when everybody was going on about flesch scores and how much their manuscripts scored? I seem to remember that for a M&B romance, a score of around 5 was optimum.

Well mine's a 6. At least, the first three chapters are.

Does that mean it's too intellectual for the average M&B reader? Or will I just be pushing their boundaries, forcing them to learn new words that have more than two syllables?

Sorry, but should any of you think I'm being serious, I'd better stop here and add that my tongue is very firmly placed in my cheek. I have no intention of stressing over flesch scores because I don't believe they have any significance so really don't give a monkey's whether or not my score is optimum or not. I'm as laid back about this now as everybody else was 'back then'.

It's a bit of fun, and authors need a laugh as much as anybody else, don't they?

I'm just having a laugh when I say my manuscript might one day be seen as intellectually challenging by a certain group of women whose lives generally consist of nothing more than Jeremy Wotsit interviewing dysfunctional families and part of Phillip and Fern. Only part mind; they need time to go out and buy their fags while the kids are at school.

Yes, I'm being disparaging. That's just a bit of fun, too. Sometimes I write something that appears to be serious but that those who know me would immediately realise is just a load of old pony. It's the way I am and I can't change that. Not sure I'd even want to.

I think I'm probably chilling with some nonsense because I've finally finished editing those first three chapters. What a relief that is! The word count's gone down by a couple of hundred (not surprising seeing as I cut an entire scene and part of another) but the whole thing reads better for it. I just need to know what flowers would be blooming in a garden on Tenerife in July. Anybody? No, I didn't think so. Back to the research board.

Once I've got the flowers, the manuscript's going to Richmond. Then I'll finish editing the rest (in between writing Darcie and Alex's story, because they're starting to get impatient now, bless 'em) and then put it away to be forgotten.

I've got a HenLit story waiting to go, too. The characters are nicely formed and because they're stuck in my head together, they're already starting to tear each other's eyes out. Women, y'know :-) Three of them, all dealing with the same man. How can it not go wrong?

It's funny in the ha-ha way, sort of like ChickLit only the women are older. The youngest is in her 30s but the other two are early and mid 40s. Definitely hens, right? When does it become BroilerLit, I wonder?


Being as I'm in funny mode today, I'm going to link you to some jokes about books and authors.

Q. How many mystery writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A. Two. One to screw it almost all the way in and the other to give it a suprising twist at the end.

Boom, boom!

PS: Just wanted to add this: I don't believe that Mills & Boon stories are only read by the 'uneducated' and, if that were the case, I certainly wouldn't be writing for them. Maybe that sounds equally as disparaging but I'm afraid I can only write for an audience that's similar to myself and nobody is going to make me believe I belong on the sofa with Jeremy Wotshisname (although I do watch his show now and then)!


Technorati Tags: Writing, Silly Stuff, Jokes
Posted by Sharon J on 11:51 PM   

Blogger Sue aka MsCreativity said...

LOL! You've had me procrastinating (for a change) - I had to check what my current flesch score is on my draft so far (It's 5.6 with 2% passive sentences, so I have lots of polishing to do).

Congrats on the editing - sorry, I can't help with the flowers. I've got to research honeysuckle for a scene in mine...

You're 'writer's' head sounds like a dangerous place to be right now with all that cat-fighting - rather you than me. ;-)

P.S. Thanks for the laugh!

8:59 AM   

Anonymous Sharon J said...

There will always be some passive sentences, Sue. It could be dialogue that's causing that. People don't stop and think about whether their sentences are passive or active before they speak, do they?

What do you need to know about honeysuckle? I might be able to help, being a keen gardener and having a shelf full of gardening and wild flower books.

Glad you enjoyed having a laugh. It's a sight better than crying, innit?

10:28 AM   

Blogger Kate Walker said...


What is all this?

I have never ever in my life - until now - even looked at a Flesch score or related it to anything I've ever written. Okay so now you intrigued me and I checked 3 chapters of a published book of mine - average score 6.5 - 7

Who said - and where that for an M&B a score of 5 was optimum?? What total . . . .

Whoever said that has a very strange idea - a bigoted idea - of M&B readers. The books are read by women all over the world,aged between 15 and 90, with a wide range of educational experience and abilities. I know university lecturers who read them - doctors - lawyers . .

I know this is tongue in cheek for you - but honestly it riles me to think that someone once made that comment on the Flesch scores. It keys in so much to the overall bigotry about the genre and the women who read it and the women who write it.

I wish I could find out where that remark was made and contradict it strongly.

10:57 AM   

Anonymous Sharon J said...

Blimey, Kate. That was all a long time ago and I honestly don't remember where it started. It was long before I moved my blog to the NWG site and probably when I first started considering writing for M&B.

I really hope you didn't take me seriously as I was actually trying to have a dig at those who see M&B as "fiction for the uneducated" because, as I've said on this blog many times before, it riles me, too, that there are so many people who actually believe that nobody with any intelligence would bother reading them. I also know some very intelligent women who enjoy romance, whether it's M&B or mainstream and have had some relatively heated arguments with friends who have been disparaging towards both the authors and the readers. "Wouldn't your friend rather be writing proper books?" (aimed at Penny) being the latest to have raised my hackles somewhat.

Evidently, the average reading age of Brits is age 9. Sounds shocking, doesn't it? What the average reading age of a M&B reader is, I have absolutely no idea and I don't suppose any research has ever been done on the matter.

I'm sorry if my post upset you. That wasn’t my intention. It was just a different angle from my usual "Why do people have to be so damned derogatory about Mills & Boon" type rants.

11:48 AM   

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