Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bad Query 15

Dear Agent,

I am seeking representation for my novel, complete at 107,832 words, according to the word counter on Microsoft Word. However, I've checked it with two other online word counters, and they've given different values, of 108,011 words and 107,943 words.

I thought the inconsistency could be down to the way the different counters deal with hyphenated words - I have one character who stutters, saying things like "p-p-plastering", so that might be the problem. However, replacing that character's dialogue with complete words yielded different results: 107,534, 107,945 and 107,841.

Another character mutters, which I've rendered by running words into each other, like "notbloodylikely". Changing that character's dialogue to normal word spacing upped the word count to 109,307, 109,788 and 109,411. Changing the mutterer's dialogue and the stutterer's gave me word counts of 109,023, 109,624, and 109,307.

This gives a mean word count, across all four variations and three counters, of 108,630.5. However, I notice, we also have a modal word count of 109,307. Since this is within one standard deviation (805.9653115) of the mean value, I intend to accept this modal value as the definitive word count, subject to further statistical sampling.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

--Steve Wright

10 comments:

fairyhedgehog said...

This is brilliant. So very OCD and geeky. I can just see the poor obsessed guy trying to work it out.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I want this book!

pacatrue said...

You should do a regression on the various factors at play - stuttering, mumbling, etc., - and see which has the most influence.

But remember, correlation does not equal causation.

Dave F. said...

What on earth is a modal word count?
I like this. I like this.

_*Rachel*_ said...

Aw man, I knew somebody else would be awesome on the wordcount. This is geekily wonderful.

Xiexie said...

My Math Prof would love this! *forwards link to her*

Jeb said...

This is the most awesome on word-counting!

Anonymous said...

brilliant

Rick Daley said...

This is like the opposite of my word count submission, replacing general vagueness with ultra-specifics. Great job!

Kings Falcon said...

That was brilliant! Great job.