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I hope you're all endeavoring to expunge the cantankerous layers of obfuscation from your work! Entries for May's Bitmob Community Writing Challenge, Fog of War are due on May 31st. That gives you 10 days to get your entry in, starting tomorrow.

Join the ranks of Bitmob superstars who have already answered the call to arms, including Chris Rogel, Suriel Vazquez, and Christian Higley. Also be sure to check out my own example if you need some inspiration. Remember: Entering a writing challenge gets you in the final roundup post, which often gets front paged, and that gets more eyes on your work regardless of your success with the prompt.

You can find a full reprint of the official rules below. Time is short, so get editing!


The Challenge

The goal is to take a piece of your writing and edit it to make it more readable. For this challenge, we’ll be using a number of readability tests to give you an idea of how accessible your writing is. While these tests aren’t 100-percent accurate and don’t take into account meaning and intent, they can be very useful in determining if your sentence, word, and paragraph length bog down your meaning. Ultimately, your piece should be engaging, so keep that in mind.

1) Write a piece between 500 and 800 words in length. The topic and format can be anything you choose, from a review to an op-ed piece. You can go higher than 800 if you want, but length contributes to accessibility, so a piece between 500-800 words is optimal for this challenge. You can also pick an old piece of similar length if you prefer.

2) Calculate the Flesch Reading Ease, Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level, and Gunning Fog Index ratings for your piece. You can use Word, Google Docs, and similar word processors to calculate the first two, but be sure to do the Gunning Fog test by hand at least three times and average your results to get the most accurate rating. List the results at the bottom of your piece.

3) On the second page of your entry, post a rewritten version of your original piece and take into account the scores you received previously. Shorten sentence, word, and paragraph length to help improve your readability while keeping the same voice. Try to aim for the following scores, given Bitmob’s average reader fluency:

  • Flesch Reading Ease: >50.00
  • Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level: 8.0 – 10.0
  • Gunning Fog Index: <12.0

4) Calculate your updated scores and list them at the bottom of your rewritten piece.

5) Optional: Write a short reflection about the editing process and what you learned and attach it to the bottom of the second page.

6) Title your piece “Fog of War — (article name here)” and include the tag fog of war.

7) Post it to the Mobfeed!

Entries are due May 31, 2010. Once the challenge is complete, I’ll post a collection of all of the entries. Traditionally, these roundups do pretty well, so by participating, you’re most likely guaranteeing more page views and exposure for yourself.