I respond to a lot of flash fiction prompts that impose word count limitations. So when I heard about a new word processing/text editing app available for free at the App Store on my iPhone, I downloaded it. The app’s name is “Eddie.”
According to Eddie, “You will always know how many words and characters you have written with Eddie’s Live Counter, which updates as you type.”
I figured I could use Eddie to help me track my word count for prompts where word count matters. I’d use Eddie on my iPhone to compose the post and then cut and paste it into the WordPress app.
I decided to try Eddie out with a 100-word prompt. Using Eddie to compose my post, I diligently edited my draft to get it to be precisely 100 words. At least that was what Eddie told me the word count was. Imagine my surprise when, after copying my Eddie-certified 100-word block of text into the WordPress text editor, it showed 123 words.
What? My reputation as a flash fiction blogger would be destroyed if I were to be caught trying to pass off a 123-word story for a 100-word challenge. I ended up practically rewriting the whole damn post to get it down to 100 words. According to WordPress, anyway.
So I decided to run a test using the following paragraph.
I wrote this paragraph as a test. I participate in a lot of flash fiction prompts that impose word limits. Some require a post to be 100 or fewer words. Others permit up to 175 or 200. Some are micro fiction prompts that allow even fewer words. And one prompt I participate in allows only up to 280 total characters, like Twitter.
The WordPress editor pegged the above paragraph as having 57 words. Microsoft Word tallied 62 words. Same with Pages, an Apple writing app I have on my iPhone — 62 words. But according Eddie, that paragraph had only 45 words!
So what is it really? 45 words? 62 words? 57 words? When I’m participating in a word-limited prompt, should I be conservative and go by the highest count from Microsoft and Apple, the WordPress editor count, or the Eddie count, which shows the lowest word count?
I suppose, since my blog is on WordPress, I should use that app’s word count. Yes?
For what it’s worth, WordPress says this post has 410 words. According to Apple’s Pages app, it has 435 words. Microsoft Word comes in at 429 words. And Eddie tells me this post has 230 words.
But who’s counting?