English is my second language. Since I worked on this novel for a long time, and over this last year intensively, I wondered if my language skill could have changed drastically and measurable. So I went chapter by chapter and analyzed each, just to check myself. I was very objective regarding my novels in my first language, German, but judging myself in my English, I didn't dare.
However, I also employed script analysis especially in my early years as a professional novelist, because some editors and reviewers pointed out a certain simplicity (that they hopefully found in the dialogue when young teenagers talked or if the narrator was one himself), but as it turned out my novels faired well in all measurable tools available to John Green, Zuzak, Carver, Ford, Hemingway to name a few (and yes I typed 20 pages from each to analyze them).
Now I embark on a similar journey with my English novel.
Please see featured chapter page in the title and ... in short:
- I used the word “could” too often. Interesting. Probably I have more diverse ways of saying that in German. My theory. But in the current revise I have an eye on those and change the wording where possible and appropriate. And it works.
- I “could” start sentences more often with -ing, especially in the first half of the novel (so my English changed during the writing process).
- I also should start more sentences with conjunctions—that is a luxury problem for a writer.
- Same shoe fit my German writing, probably because my teachers said I shouldn't. So I don't. I am slightly on the spectrum and tend to listen too much to authorities, at least in my youth.
- Regarding weak adverbs I am way under J.K. Rowling, same in German, maybe I should use more weak adverbs, so I become a bestselling and … ? Nay.
- The average sentence length grows slightly during the novel. That I find explicable, in the first half there is more dialogue, and I tend to keep that real, later inner monologue and reflections take over part of that, they tend to be longer in sentences. Also the character Colton joins the cast, and he speaks in longer sentences. Plus, hey, without aiming for it or crafting my novel in this direction the sentence length distribution is along Stephen King. I. Can. Live. With. That.
But honestly it surprises me in my 2nd language. There is hope.
For the statistics I used ProWritingAid, I am not affiliated or married to anybody there or cash in in anyway. I just find the software very helpful.
Thank you so much for your time. If you have questions, any, please leave them in the comments.
Bev Muendel-Atherstone February 11, 2022
Wow! Thorsten! You put a great deal of effort into the technical aspects of your writing. I love starting sentences with participles or gerunds ending in ing.
I am analyzing my poetry a lot, but mainly for duplication of language, sound and rhythm. Lovely to share in your writing journey. Good luck.
author March 11, 2022 — Post author
Yes, you must love language to enjoy writing. Testing and analyzing is such an integral part of the journey – often with pleasant surprises.