30 in 30 10: Good Money or Good Art?

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30 in 30 10: Good Money or Good Art?

Writing quality has rules:

  1. High cohesion.
    • Many coreferences i.e. concept repetition across paragraphs
    • Many connectives i.e. explicitly expressed causal relationships
  2. High language sophistication.
    • Syntactic complexity i.e. word count before main verb
    • Lexical diversity i.e. range of vocabulary
    • Word characteristics i.e. concreteness, imageability, low frequency

Concisely, academic essays earns better grades when complex, but coherent. Good grades correlate with higher Flesch-Kincaid Grade level estimates (12 compared to 9.9).

The opposite case is true when writing for money. ~73,900 articles say 'keep Flesch-Kincaid scores low to gain readers', offering software to tell you when it's too high.  

But that reflects a greater problem: refined art doesn't sell.

In "Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!", three girls make anime. While Asakusa and Misuzaki grind to build beauty, Kanamori constantly pressures them to meet festivals, friends, and followers' deadlines to attract ever-greater pecuniary rewards.

When artists doth protest, Kanamori quips: "You accept money in order to accept responsibility for a job. Pay exists to ensure a quality standard for labor. If we're accepting money for this job, it means we have an obligation to deliver to a certain standard."

Unfortunately, that standard is "what makes money" i.e. raw emotional appeal: simplistic, catchy experiences rather than detailed masterworks. Think James Bay vs. Richard Linklater, Ariana Grande vs. Neutral Milk Hotel, James Patterson vs. James Joyce.

Would you rather make money or make art? Fortunately, with niche culture, you can do both!