The Sorrows of Young Werewolf (eyeteeth) wrote,
The Sorrows of Young Werewolf

Becker scowled

According to the grammar checker in my ancient version of Word for the Macintosh, this is one of the shortest sentences in Chapter Seven. (I think of it as roughly analogous to "Jesus wept," the shortest verse in the King James Bible.) According to the grammar checker "Becker scowled" is not a complete sentence -- in fact, according to the grammar checker almost every single one of my sentences is either too short or too long -- but I know better. Direct objects be damned! "Scowled" is an intransitive verb anyhow.

The grammar checker in my ancient version of Word (5.1a) tells me all kinds of neat things, which is why I use it, even though it's always getting on my ass about passive constructions. It's a slick way to bask in the glory of writing without actually writing anything. On a subtler level, it's a slick way to pretend that anyone who criticizes my work is an idiot. For example:

Sentence: "Becker was walking through her apartment, looking at everything she owned."
Comment: This appears to be a run-on sentence.
I: How do you figure? That's a perfectly respectable participle up there.

Sentence: "I dreamed about a lighthouse."
Comment: This does not appear to be a complete sentence.
I: It's got a subject, a verb, and an object. It's even in the active voice. What do you want from me, blood?

Sentence: "Did you have a nightmare or something?"
Comment: This sentence does not appear to have a main clause.
I: There's only one clause, damn it! The whole thing is the main clause!

This is probably how some of my authors feel when they deal with me.

According to Word 5.1a Chapter Seven averages two sentences a paragraph, ten words a sentence, and four characters a word. (Everything I ever write seems to average four characters a word, and it's always a bit of a surprise to me, because I like big words like "insouciance.") Its Flesch Grade Level is 6.7. Sadly, Word 5.1a does not measure the Gunning Fog Index the way Word 4 did; it only measures Flesch Reading Ease, which in this case is 82.8. I'm not even sure what that means. Which sentences represent the 17.2 percent that is hard to read? Which words? Was it complicit, phonograph, aperture, palpate, revelatory?

I am experiencing a sudden surge in writing output, which is a turn of events as unexpected as it is welcome. Every keystroke makes me feel as if I've given a dollar to charity: when I finally go to bed I am luminous with virtue. I want to finish this chapter so I can start the next chapter. Inside this chapter I want to get to the next sentence, the next paragraph, the next creepy plot twist. I want to figure out where this thing is going.

My God! I'm writing a novel!

Total word count: 48,325
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