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  • Belgium, Europe

YA Story Analyzer Tool

Today I want to introduce you to a nifty tool for all young adult and MG writers out there: the YA Story Analyzer Tool. It’s free to use and it checks your manuscript for average sentence length, reading level, redundant phrases and sentences, cliché words, wordy sentences and use of adverbs. I throw around adverbs like it’s Christmas, so this tool comes in very handy. Of course it doesn’t replace actually editing your manuscript, but it’s a fun tool, and really helpful when you can’t see the forest for the trees anymore.

So I decided to start playing with it. First, I ran some chapters of my manuscripts through the tool, and then eventually full manuscripts. Result time!

The Sleeping Kingdom

Note: The actual report is a lot longer. This is from the ‘basic summary’. You can choose a lot of different ways to evaluate your story, focusing on sentence variation, repetitive sentences, dialogue tags and more. In general, I must say I did pretty well so far. There’s an overuse of adverbs in the entire manuscript, but there are no cliché words, no redundant words or phrases, and only four cases of wordy writing. Considering it’s a 75k manuscript, that’s pretty good. Time to feel proud.

Summary
Some approximate summary stats about your sample:

Total words: 75191
Total sentences: 6113
Total syllables: 115059
Average syllables per word: 1.53
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Average Words Per Sentence: 12.3
Average Sentence length (characters): 67.98
Total Difficult Sentences (>20 words): 983
Total Very Difficult Sentences (>40 words): 50
Total Insanely Difficult Sentences (>60 words): 3
Percent Difficult Sentences: 16.08%
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Flesch Reading Ease: 64.89
easily understandable by 13- to 15-year-old students
Flesch-Kincaid Grade level: 7.26
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This tool is also very handy for grade level. Based on the reading ease, the document is easily understandable by 13-15 year olds, my target audience. It has a grade level of 7th grade, which means 12-13 year old. Both fit nicely in the YA category, so I’m very glad for that. I’m also happy to see I only used 3 insanely difficult sentences in the entire manuscript!

Soul Thief (Angel of Death Series #1)

It’s easy to see that Soul Thief, which is now at around 87% finished, desperately needs another round of edits. Judging by the amount of times I used the word ‘just’, well wow. There’s also too much passive writing, ‘the fact that’ occurs 43 times, but again no cliché words and only a handful of redundant phrases. Not as bad as I expected, to be honest.

Total words: 63388
Total sentences: 5381
Total syllables: 96513
Average syllables per word: 1.52
– – – – – – – – – –
Average Words Per Sentence: 11.78
Average Sentence length (characters): 64.86
Total Difficult Sentences (>20 words): 789
Total Very Difficult Sentences (>40 words): 48
Total Insanely Difficult Sentences (>60 words): 3
Percent Difficult Sentences: 14.66%
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Flesch Reading Ease: 66.07
easily understandable by 13- to 15-year-old students
Flesch-Kincaid Grade level: 6.97

Again, three insanely difficult snetneces. Hah. It seems to have become my trademark! The reading ease is 13 to 15 year old students, but the grade level is 6th, nearly 7th grade. In the rewrite I would like to up this so it reaches the 7th grade reading level as well. Since this is an earlier work, I feel my writing has improved, so this is definitely in need of a rewrite.

Fractured (Mirrorland #1)

The difference between Fractured, and the other two manuscripts, is that Fractured has been edited already. Not just by yours truly, but by my wonderful editor as well. So it doesn’t surprise me to see no redundant phrases, no cliché words, etc. However, I have to refrain from using passive writing. The passive writing is on the higher end. I don’t know if this is because of the third person as opposed to first person in my other manuscript, but for Reflected (Mirrorland #2), I will definitely work on that.

Total words: 51635
Total sentences: 4520
Total syllables: 80329
Average syllables per word: 1.56
– – – – – – – – – –
Average Words Per Sentence: 11.42
Average Sentence length (characters): 64.63
Total Difficult Sentences (>20 words): 626
Total Very Difficult Sentences (>40 words): 28
Total Insanely Difficult Sentences (>60 words): 1
Percent Difficult Sentences: 13.85%
– – – – – – – – – –
Flesch Reading Ease: 63.63
easily understandable by 13- to 15-year-old students
Flesch-Kincaid Grade level: 7.22
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Again, the grade level is 7th grade, so just on track. It’s easily understandable by 13 to 15 year old students, and look at that: only one insanely difficult sentence!

Ghostslayer

I’m not that happy with the results of Ghostslayer. More redundant words than in all my other works. Granted, it’s still a first draft, but it shows it definitely needs editing work at this point. Also, the grade level is a bit low. Content-wise, this story is more mature than my other ones. I’d like to qualify it as “upper YA” or “new adult”, and based on the content and the romance, it definitely fits in that category. Text-wise, not so much.

Total words: 35367
Total sentences: 2990
Total syllables: 54225
Average syllables per word: 1.53
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Average Words Per Sentence: 11.83
Average Sentence length (characters): 65.53
Total Difficult Sentences (>20 words): 433
Total Very Difficult Sentences (>40 words): 26
Total Insanely Difficult Sentences (>60 words): 2
Percent Difficult Sentences: 14.48%
– – – – – – – – – –
Flesch Reading Ease: 65.12
easily understandable by 13- to 15-year-old students
Flesch-Kincaid Grade level: 7.11
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This may also have to do with the fact it’s only at 35k words. I’m not sure.

Reflected (Mirrorland #2)

Now I’m starting to believe the ‘passive writing’ is related to writing in third person. It’s high again here. Will definitely try to fix this when editing the manuscript. Note that this is an analysis of the first 16k words.

Total words: 16397
Total sentences: 1463
Total syllables: 25582
Average syllables per word: 1.56
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Average Words Per Sentence: 11.21
Average Sentence length (characters): 63.63
Total Difficult Sentences (>20 words): 175
Total Very Difficult Sentences (>40 words): 11
Total Insanely Difficult Sentences (>60 words): 1
Percent Difficult Sentences: 11.96%
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Flesch Reading Ease: 63.47
easily understandable by 13- to 15-year-old students
Flesch-Kincaid Grade level: 7.19

Again, the reading ease and reading level fit perfectly with the target audience for the book.

Try it out for yourself for your manuscript. Even if it may not help you with editing, it will help you find out what you’re doing wrong: are you writing in a passive voice? Are you using too many repetitive sentences? What about ‘and’ and ‘just’? Also, it’s great to know your grade level, so you know you’re writing for the right target audience.

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