I plugged in a couple of paragraphs from a manuscript I’m working on.
Turns out my writing is not in good shape.
The Writer’s Diet test assesses the proportion of words in your sample that fall into categories such as ‘nouns’, ‘prepositions’ and ‘verbs’, and then rates these against a scale that ranges from ‘lean’ to ‘heart attack’. Clearly, I am heavy-handed with the nouns.
It also provides you with a diagnosis that includes tips for trimming down your writing. For example, the test discourages overuse of nominalisations; long, important-sounding nouns formed from verbs or adjectives. Great advice! I normally hate nominalisations. But I study detectability.
The Writer’s Diet is not a one-size-fits-all test; nor is it designed to be. But it is a nice way to learn more about your writing and where you can afford to slim it down a bit. Removing unnecessary prepositions and other ‘waste’ words is a great way to make your writing more direct, concise and accessible.
So I’m sending my verbs and adverbs to the gym.
*As an aside, I ran the above post through the test. Result? Needs toning. I guess I’m improving.