Edit or no edit? I'm currently choosing between whether or not to use a new system of writing, and the right path is not yet clear. It's now been close to two years since I rejoined KH-Vids.net. When I came back, one of the first things I did was join an RP, and that RP inspired me to write a fan-fiction. This culminated in "Based Forward", and, yeah, I am proud of it so far. But I'm always striving to become a better writer, even if somebody tells me I'm good at what I do. I've always been bad at self-editing. I favor flowery, poetic language and attention to artistic details. It's, to me, an important part of the reading experience. Recently, though, I've stumbled across an online app. It allows me to use my voice without being unsure of whats in error and what isn't. It also lets me keep a train of thought, which I don't do as well by myself. If you would prefer just to help me with my problem, click here to skip ahead. If you like useful gadgets that make things easier, then continue reading. It's called Hemingway, and it advises you of the following details: For editing Note: Many of these are not inherent mistakes in writing. What's listed is what writers tend to overdo, and it tends to go awry. If the writer doesn't know they are doing it, they can get away from the point they are trying to make. A mistake made on purpose, though, is not a mistake at all. It's artistic license. So long as you can defend it, then it can fly. All these options are ones you can turn off in the app for this same reason. Sort of like writing an Original Character's name in Microsoft Word and getting Spell-checked. A computer program's logic isn't perfect. It tells you when a sentence is hard to read. It doesn't mean that the sentence is bad. It just tells you that someone may find it hard to know what you're saying. The more of these there are, the more they bring up the reading level. How verbose the text is also raises the reading level. Suppose you had a sentence that just sort of drags on and on; it adds a touch of flavor, but you never want too much. This highlights in yellow. It tells you when sentences are very hard to read. These sentences tend to run on and you're just better off cutting them down. That is, if you are aiming at audiences other than ones with college degrees. These sentences aren't bad either, but they stand a higher chance of being bad, because sentences with a ridiculous length create a story of their own and can distract too much from the greater plot at hand. This highlights in red. It tells you when a word you picked has a simpler way of saying it. It doesn't show up a lot. It catches on if your language is over-inflated, but it still doesn't go off often. It is very strict about the word very though. It tells you to omit any use of the word, and, the truth is, it's right. Most of the time. Instead of very sad, try morose. On the inverse, a very old man is not an ancient man. Obvious to see, there's two sides to a coin. Very is a word used when you know exactly what you're saying with it. The very definition of it is "Truth-related". This highlights in purple. It tells you when you use an adverb. I am not your Grammar teacher. I'm not telling you what an adverb really is. Huh? See what I did there? Well, since this text is so short, it tells me to take that adverb out. If the text is longer, though, it tells me how many adverbs I should use. It's all about the ratio. If there's adverbs all over the place, then details jump right over the reader. If there's none in a emotional piece of fiction, then it's bland. Try to limit them to describing how a character says something. It's all about balance. This highlights in blue. It tells you when you are using the passive voice. It's not a bad thing. It can be annoying though, because it can slow the narrative if you overdo it. A passive voice sentence puts the subject of a sentence at the end. I can't force a Passive Voice example, because I have yet to master Active and Passive. I am especially happy to know it can be used . Oh look. Passive voice. Doesn't look so bad. That's why Hemingway lets you use more Passive voice examples than adverbs. It, like adverbs, gives a numerical suggestion for balance. This highlights in green. Data Readability: How easy it is to read your work, in its entirety. Right now, since the text is so simple, blunt, and to the point, it has a Grade 3-4 reading level. On average. You may want to cap off at Grade 10, as it suggests. Everything above Grade 10 is just going to be a considerable chore to read. Not bad. Just difficult. Great if you like to make work that can. Paragraphs: Just how many you have. Sentences: Just how many you have. Words: Just how many you have. Characters: The letters, not the plot devices. Just how many you have. Letters: How many of your characters are in the Alphabet. It doesn't include punctuation, brackets, or anything like that. Read. Time: How long it's going to take the average reader to get from the beginning and reach the end. It doesn't give you any limits, but it is useful to know. For example, if the post you're making on "What I Ate for Lunch" is going to take twenty minutes. Likewise, suppose what you're making is something that stirs your blood. It takes two seconds to peruse. Uh uh. Here's the problem I'm having though. I put the first chapter of "Based Forward" through the wash of Hemingway, and I don't know. I don't know if it's nicer, cleaner, and a better choice. I don't know if I should keep things exactly as they are, with warts and all. I've given you examples of what I'm mulling over. I've provided the two versions as well. I marked them for convenience below. It went from a Grade 11 reading level to a Grade 5 reading level. That is likely the biggest disappointment for me, even though I get the logic of an easy read. I don't know which to think though. Is it good that it's attainable to much wider audience? or was it better for it to be a fan-fiction that had a High School reading level? Let's be honest here: Fan-Fictions can be lucky to have comprehensibility at all. Did I lose my voice? Or is the text stronger with greater variety in sentence lengths? Basically, am I making the right choice? Should I edit the other chapters and continue to use Hemingway when I write? Comparison Hemingway Edit Original Version Spoiler: Hemingway Data Hemingway Readability= Grade 6 Paragraphs= 8 Sentences= 135 Words= 1625 Characters= 8752 Letters= 6992 Read. Time= 6 minutes; 30 seconds Original Readability= Grade 11 Paragraphs= 3 (Regardless, I probably should edit this aspect. The fact I wound up with more paragraphs is good) Sentences= 77 Words= 1792 Characters= 9942 Letters= 7977 Read. Time= 7 minutes; 10 seconds Hemingway Edit B ase awoke with a start. Darkness… impermeable and suffocating. He struggled to keep the playback of the most recent memory of his out of his recollection. He shut his eyes tight. The memory came to him anyway, of course, with full disregard of his attempt. His own mind denied his trying with ardent intensity to suppress it. It infuriated him as the images reeled together into one straight, inescapable vision. A nightmarish vision, and one the likes of which he had never before dared to know. Unavoidable, like the tears streaming down his face, the nightmare began again. ♫♪♪♫ It had been a murky day in Theate City on the day all its ways of life came crashing down. Rain fell like a dense curtain of cold and calamity. The rain had a sorrow to it. It was like the rain was a collection of tears of the thousands of people crying out enmasse. They cried out in painful, constant agony across the entirety of the expansive city. The day had started normal and continued per usual, until dusk fell. Chaos seeped in like a river through a burst dam. The smell of lit gasoline from a nearby car choked the young man. His name was Sebastian Noble, but he more often knew the name Base. He was the sole soul on the barren street, for all he knew. A broken fire hydrant the car had hit, produced a geyser of water from the concrete. He was cold, tired, lost, coughing, and he was completely soaked from head to toe. His tousled black hair stuck to his forehead as he looked one way, then the other way on the street. No one. No sign of life anywhere except for the screams that came from all corners at once. To say the screams were faint would be a blatant lie; the screams, in fact, stuck out a great deal. It was like a chorus conducted by a demon. The impromptu choir cried out in a tormented, as well as tormenting, unorganized staccato. The perversity rocked the core of Base's mind. Ultimately, the choir produced an odd soloist in its antiphonal production. Four Whole notes, tied by the tangible terror all around, built to a crescendo. The singular crier descended from her ill-gotten perch from high above the same street. From high up in one of the many interminable skyscrapers, a young person fell. She popped into Base's weather-limited sight. The concrete was, in this case, a double bar line. The cry ended with a crack and a sickening, abrupt half beat of grotesque ambiance. The screaming soloist was there on the sidewalk in front of Base. She was just as able to reanimate as he had been to intervene. He moved onto the gray, darkened concrete, a three yard distance away. It was the hero in Base that caused him to approach the ceased screamer. This heroic predisposition would prove useless, as it seemed, in this particular case. He glanced over the sunken soloist with dismay. He saw clearly that she could be no older than a year ahead of his seventeen. Eyes that was drained of life, but they possessed a lingering character. Petite and dressed in a satin night gown, she had landed unscathed. There were no scratches or bruises on her skin. Not even life's wire puddled from where her head had cracked the concrete. If it were possible to see any evidence of life within her, it would be possible to think she was fine. She'd be okay, and would awake any moment, as if waking from a bad dream. Since she landed unscathed, Base held out some faint and foolish hope. He hoped that he had not just watched someone leaving a crumbling world. This hope was not a realistic one, nor was it the reality at all. Instead, there was only the horrific stare she had still trapped in her eyes. There was no rise and fall of the chest. There was not any traceable movement of the body whatsoever. Not even a sliver of a possibility of life inert existed. In a moment of contemplation, Base studied the face. He thought, for a moment, that he could have known this girl in life. Her facial features even struck a strange familiarity. Maybe he might have seen her before, but would never have known her on any personal level. Base was not so much social, as he was, what he said, a social repellent. No one wanted anything to do with him at any point in his life. He was... different. He was good-looking and mild-mannered, but impossible for many to decipher. Most he had known didn't even bother to try. Theate was never in short supply of idle judgments before it came crashing down. There was, still, no judgement held in this young woman's face. There was only pained sorrow. Something terrible had happened just before she fell, and it had locked her face. The pain of sorrow invaded Base's tattered soul as the perplexity ripened to fruition. He didn't even let go of a whimper, but instead he clenched his fists. All the injustices caused by the ensuing chaos of darkness were overtaking him. The darkness that had descended on his world and was succeeding in conquering it. Then, an answer to his feeling of emotional-overload, a flash of light blinded him. The biggest secret he had ever kept appeared in his right hand without his prompting it to. He looked down at the device and sneered at it with disgust. He had no clue what this object really was, just as he did not know why it was a giant silver and gold key. It did not bring the feeling of vigor and strength it had when it first appeared to him a year back. It only brought a sense of a burden he did not wish to carry. It represented a lie. A lie which he had told by never telling neither his parents nor Uncle Dean of i- (!) His heart sank as he thought of it. 'In this... where could they be in it?' This was the forbearing thought. 'What if, in all those screams still going on ... what if theirs is one of them.' This thought haunted him and froze him more than the chilling precipitation ever could. He threw a glare at the weapon at his side, but this look faded when he changed his focus down to the girl. Her blank stare pointed at nothing. It inspired in Base all the fears brought on by the sight of Death. Crouching down close beside the departed, Base closed the lifeless eyes. The least he could do for her. He extended the courtesy of making Death resemble its benign counterfeit, Sleep. The same moment her eyes shut, another blinding light struck him. The light erupted from the girl as if she were a flood lamp. He watched the light condense and thicken onto core of her motionless chest. The light softened to a dull flame. It was a beam that condensed and became a single object hovering over her torso. A crystalline heart that turned as it began a slow rise. It spun wisps of red smoke that whirled inside it and tiny beams of light shot out from within. It swirled with the grace of a ballerina, majestic and bright in the air. It radiated a soft glow around it and emanated a soft tinkerbell sound as it rose. Once it reached eye level with Base, it hovered and rotated. Base listened. There came a weak and disembodied voice from within that spoke with tenderness. 'Please... run...’ was all Base heard... or rather, thought he heard. It didn't matter if he believed it or not. The Heartless had taken notice anyway. Base did not know what he faced when he whirled around on his heel. He only had heard suspicious chattering noises beginning to swarm behind him. Creatures of darkness had manifested in the streets, and in healthy numbers. They were the Heartless. There were sixteen of the tiny beasts in all. A dozen Shadows congregated, with yellow orbs their eyes; a living shadow. Four small bell-shaped imps wearing two different color-schemes hovered over the lower Purebloods. One pair wore green armor and a brown cap, a duo of Green Requiems. The other, red armor with a yellow cap; Red Nocturnes. Small, yellow eyes stared from a shadowy orb between the caps and their armor. Eyes that danced in the fog like lanterns danced on a wire in the wind. They were strange to Base, but they each had names. Then there was what Base knew: nothing, save that these monsters did not look weak. Their idling there in the street made him precarious. One of the imps took a step forward, as Base swallowed a heavy dry lump in his throat while he watched it. So far, it had been the only one to have made a move. But, with every clumsy-looking, sweeping step, it drew closer to him and the girl. 'They're after either me or her', he summarized from the ambiguity. 'I can't let either happen.' Base gritted his teeth and readied his stance. He stared into the little yellow orbs, and it shook him. He stayed. Closer, closer, and closer, yet Base stood his ground against the confronting beasts. If he could save no one else, why not save the heart of the person he could protect to some degree? There was at least one thought that grew when the scout sprang from the ground. This instant could be his last. He let a light burn down deep inside him. He was ready to face the darkness. Back up to Seletion Original B ase awoke with a start. ‘Darkness… impermeable and suffocating Darkness…’ he thought as he struggled with to keep the playback of the most recent memory of his out of his recollection. He shut his eyes tightly and almost as soon as he sprang in the foreign and unfamiliar bed he found himself in. The memory came to him anyway, of course, with full disregard of his attempting of his trying to suppress it. This point infuriated him as the images reeled together into one straight, inescapable vision. A nightmarish vision the likes of which he had never before dared to know. Unavoidable, like the tears streaming down his face, the nightmare began again. ♫♪♪♫ It had been a murky day in Theate City on the day all manners and walks of life came crashing down. Rain fell like a dense curtain of cold and calamity. Stinging sorrow; it was as though the rain was itself the collection of tears of the people crying out in vast quantities along the many city blocks. They cried out in agony across the entirety of the expansive city. The smell of burning oil from a nearby crashed car, partially on the sidewalk, partially on the road, choked the sense of smell and further limited the amount of breathable of the young boy Sebastian "Base" Noble, the sole denizen of the barren street. Flooding water not only from the sky but also from a disturbed fire hydrant, tossed aside by the wayward vehicle that had crashed, dominated his sense of hearing as the eruption continued unattended. In short, he was cold, tired, lost, could barely breathe or see, and he was completely soaked from head to toe, straight down to the bone. His customarily tousled black hair stuck to his forehead as he looked one way, then the other down the street. No one. No sign of life anywhere except for the screams that came from all corners at once. To say the screams were faint would be a blatant lie; the screams, in fact, stuck out a great deal. As a chorus conducted by Barbas, the impromptu choir cried out in a tormented as well as tormenting, unorganized staccato. As if not enough of the perverse to molest the very core of Base's youthful but strangely mature mind, the choir came to produce a soloist in its off key antiphony. Four whole notes, tied together by bands of unstopping terror, crescendoed as the singular crier descended from her ill-gotten perch from high above the very same street; from one of the many interminably high skyscrapers that made up Theate. All at once, as she came into Base's weather-limited sight, the double bar line, a physical horizontal one instead of the usual vertical one on paper, was reached and the release of the cry abruptly ended with a sickening half beat. The soloist was there, right there on the sidewalk, directly in front of Base, helpless to reanimate as he had been to intervene. He moved tentatively onto the greyed concrete, barely a three yards distance away. It was the hero in Base that caused him to approach the ceased screamer. However, this heroic predisposition would prove useless, as it seemed, in this particular case. He quickly glanced over the sunken soloist with dismay, perceiving easily that she could be no older than a year ahead of his of 17. Her face was of a rare kind of beauty, and though the life had been visibly drained from her blank and haunted eyes, her lips and her cheeks as well, they all possessed the character of novel loveliness. Petite and conservatively dressed, for her age anyway, she was visually unscathed; virtually no scratches or bruises, and not even a prominence of life's wire that should have puddled from where her head had impacted the ground before the rest of her. Were it possible to conceive any evidence of life within her, it would be possible to think she was perfectly fine and would awake any moment, as if from a bad dream that could be read in the horrific stare she was stuck in. Absolutely unscathed, Base held out some faint and foolish hope that he had not just watched someone commit themselves out of a crumbling world successfully. This hope was not a realistic one, nor was it very real at all. No rise and fall of the chest, nor any traceable movement of the body whatsoever, could be found about the person; not even a sliver of a possibility of life inert. For a moment of silent contemplation, Base studied the face and thought, very briefly, that he could have very easily known this girl in life, since her features struck a strange familiarity. Maybe he might have seen her, but would never have known her personally. Base was not so much socially awkward as he was socially repellent. He was neither hideous in image, and he was not particularly annoying in character. He was merely: different. The quality of difference from the masses, which Theate was never in any short supply of before today, radiated from the lifeless corpse in almost tangible pang of pain Base could taste The pain of sorrow invaded Base's tattered soul as the perplexity of the reality at hand came to full fruition. He let out not even the whimper of a cry, but instead gritted his teeth and clenched his fists at the injustices caused by the ensuing chaos of darkness that had descended on his world all at once. It was at that same moment, as if an answer to his feeling of emotional-overload, with a flash of light, the greatest secret he had ever kept appeared in his right hand without his prompting it to. He looked down at the newly arrived weapon and sneered at it with disgust that had not constructed his features for a great while. He had no clue what this object was, just as he did not know why it was shaped like a giant silver and gold key. Currently, it did not bring the feeling of vigor and strength it once had when it first appeared to him a year back; it only brought sense of a burden he did not wish to carry. It represented a lie, which he had told by never telling neither his parents nor Uncle Dean of i- (!) His shot up and his heart sank as he thought of it. 'In this madness... where are they?' This was the first forbearing thought. 'What if, in all those screams still going on ... what if theirs is one of them.' These thoughts haunted him and froze him more to the spot than the chilling precipitation ever could. He threw a detesting glare at the handled weapon at his side, but this look of contempt faded instantaneously when he changed his focus down to the girl. Her blank stare was directed in no particular direction, yet was faced in a single direction, and inspired in Base all the fears the sight of death brought on. Crouching down close beside the departed, Base closed the lifeless eyes solemnly. The very least he could do for her now was to offer the courtesy of making death resemble its peaceful counterfeit. At the same moment her eyes were forcibly shut, a blinding light suddenly about her person caused Base to draw back immediately as he watched the light condense and thicken into one place: at the very core of her motionless chest. The light softened to a dull flame-like beam that condensed even further and became a single object hovering over her torso. The object was a crystalline heart that slowly turned as it began a very slow ascent, as wisps of red smoke whirled inside it and tiny beams of light shot out from without. It swirled majestically and bright in the air, radiating a soft glow around it and emanating a soft tinkling sound as it rose. Once it reached somewhere around eye level with Base, it ceased to rise, but continued in its gradual rotation. From within it, Base listened intently, came a weak and disembodied voice seemingly from within that spoke with a feminine tenderness. 'Please... run...’ was all Base heard... or rather, thought he heard. He did not have long to ponder whether or not the occurrence's certainty was possible or impossible. The Heartless had taken notice. Base did not know the sight he was faced with when he whirled around on his heel when suspicious chattering noises began to swarm behind him. Creatures of darkness had recently populated the streets, and in healthy numbers. The two opposing schools of thought herein on Decker Street as Base took in the new and strange sight, and both of them were, in fact, very different from each other: What was fact and what Base knew. The facts standing thus were the monsters were and would be well known as "Heartless"; there were sixteen in all. A dozen Shadows made up the ground force, with piercing yellow orbs for eyes that shot through the rain's fog, and four small bells of two different color-schemes hovered some distance above the physically lower Purebloods; one pair was green, a duo of Green Requiems and the other were red, and were Red Nocturnes. Then there was what Base knew: absolutely nothing, save that these monsters did not look friendly, and that their idleness there in the street made him extremely precarious. One of the ground-based imps took a step forward, as Base swallowed a heavy dry lump in his throat while he watched it. So far, it had been the only one to have made a move, but with every clumsy-looking, sweeping step, it drew closer to him and the girl. 'Either it or all of them were after either him or this girl', was what he summarized from the ambiguous intent. 'I can't let either happen.' Base gritted his teeth once more and readied his stance, his Keyblade all but forgotten at his side, and stared into the little yellow orbs occasionally shifting up at him. Closer, closer, and closer it came, yet still Base stood his ground between the beasts and the beauty. If he could save no one else, why not save the heart of the person he could protect to some degree? Still, there was at least one creeping thought that grew on him as the scouting Shadow leaped all at once from the ground and upwards towards his torso. He was faintly sure that very instant could be his last, and yet still he stayed; there was still a chance, after all, and he let that light burn down deep inside him. He was ready to face the darkness. Back up to Seletion Citations1 Quote in picture and text in this piece are inspired by Robin Williams as John Keating, Dead Poets Society, 1989 2 Quote in picture by C.S. Lewis, noted author of the Narnia Series, among other things, 1898-1963 3 Quote in picture from Stephen King, noted author of the Horror genre, 1947-?