Website helps writers determine the ‘fitness’ of their prose

Although one person is questioning ‘The Writer’s Diet.’ Plus, David Foster Wallace despised ‘utilize,’ the need for writers to overcome perfectionism, editors give back for Sandy victims, and more.

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How fit is your writing?

A website will help you determine the answer to that question by putting your prose on a scale. Whether you can trust that scale is another question.

Meanwhile, the late David Foster Wallace explains his dislike of “utilize”; a novelist discusses why you should try writing 50,000 words in a month; publishers help out victims of Hurricane Sandy, and more:

The Writer’s Diet: Does your writing need to be trimmed down? There’s a way to tell. The Writer’s Diet is a website in which you enter text to determine whether it has enough nouns, too many adjectives, and so on. The site then gives you ratings from “lean” to “heart attack territory.” Pretty neat, right? It’s not to Mark Liberman. On the Language Log, he tests the site using E.B. White’s work and finds over and over again that it is “flabby,” prompting him to write of Writer’s Diet creator Helen Sword, “It’s amazing that apparently intelligent people (the editors of The New York Times, whoever books TED talks, etc.) take this malarkey seriously.” See for yourself here.

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