Wednesday, February 08, 2006

This Blog Bear Coming out of Hibernation (For Now)

Friends, I've reached my word-cut goal of less than 100,000. The novel may resemble a pincushion now, with all the poking I've been doing, so I'm going to leave it alone for a few days.

One more word-count tool to share: have you discovered the Text Stats feature on Amazon? To access it, go into a book's description page, then hover your cursor over the book's picture. (It only works for Search Inside books, and not all of them even.) Among the menu items that pops up is a stat summary. In addition to word count, you get words per dollar and words per pound, and a comparison to the word count of all other books. There are other stats too, like Fog Index, relating to reading difficulty.

I looked up a few benchmarks for fun. Mitch Albom's THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN is barely 41K words. But Gregory David Roberts' SHANTARAM, which I blogged on recently, is 383K words. (After 300K, you might as well quit counting. And Amazon also tells us that 99% of books in their database have fewer words.) And James Frey's A MILLION LITTLE PIECES, the current benchmark-of-benchmarks, is 170K words. That's 16K words per dollar spent. I wonder if this words/dollar figure will influence the outcome of those reader lawsuits.

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