My day job consists of writing copy to help patients understand their medications and how to take them. As my audience ranges from the semi-literate to the college prof, it's best if we write to a grade 4 or below. The lower the grade, the higher the reading comprehension, even among the super-literate mooks like you.

This morning I learned how to test my copy. It's simple. If you write in Word, check tools, then options, then hit the spelling and grammar tab and check readability statistics.

So of course I had to run my WIP through the grinder to see how it measured up. Understand that this is a fairly ambitious book that deals in some complex themes (or so I tell myself) and here's what I got:

Averages:

1.8 sentences per paragraph.
10.6 words per sentence.
4.2 characters per word.
1% passive sentences (yay!).
Reading ease 85.3
Grade level 3.9

That's right, I'm writing for slow 9-year-olds. So how about you? Run your mss through the Word reader and as always...

...talk to me.

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Well, I must be writing for extremely violent 8 year-olds.

I ended up with grade level 3.2
1% passive sentences
88.4% reading ease

So, y'know, easy to read, lots o' action. Yup, violent 8 year-olds should really dig it!
I caved. Here the stats on my WIP
Average sentences per paragraph 2.4
Average words per sentence 10
Average characters per word 4.2
Passive sentences 1% (I dance!)
Reading ease 81.0
Grade level 4.4 (Me an' Dashiell, baby. That's what I'm talk'n about.)

Now I translate it to Urdo, and Urdo that voodoo that Urdo so well.
I ran the last chapter of James Joyce's Ulysses:

Sentences per paragraph 1
Words per sentence 22,342
Characters per word 5.3
Passive sentences 100%
Reading ease 0
Grade level (My computer started smoking so I had to shut it down)
First book:

Sentences per Paragraph: 1.9
Words per Sentence: 11.0
Characters per Word 4.3
Passive Sentences: 1%
Flesch Reading Ease: 82.7
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 4.4

Second book:

Sentences per Paragraph: 1.6
Words per Sentence: 9.9
Characters per Word: 4.3
Passive Sentences: 1%
Flesch Reading Ease: 83%
Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level: 4.3

I guess I'm starting to dumb it down?
3.7 sentences per paragraph
Words per sentence: 8.8
Characters per word: 4.1
Passive sentences: 1%
Reading ease: 82.2
Grade level: 3.9

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