Wednesday, July 15, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blog-athon Day 31 -- What's New Wednesday -- ProWritingAid

Editing is a painful but extremely necessary part of the writing process. So, I thought I'd introduce you to a variety of editing software that I use over the next few weeks. 

Editing software is NOT, I repeat, NOT meant to take the place of an editor. You still to hire human eyes to do developmental and line editing at the very least. However, what this (and other) software helps writers to do is to get to the cleanest manuscript possible. It is truly worth the extra effort.  

Why? Because when I turn my manuscript over to my editor, I don't want them so concerned with my passive voice, grammar, and misplaced punctation that it distracts them from actually paying attention to my story. The cleaner your copy, the better it is to detect the structural and developmental issues going on with your story. And I say this as an editor myself. I cannot edit my own work for all the tea in China but I'm pretty darn good at developmental editing, which is markedly easier with a clean manuscript. 

Today's editing software is -- ProWritingAid

So, I've been trying my hand with a combination of editing type software. One of them is ProWritingAid. I like software like this because it really makes you see your writing in an entire new light. It accentuates your flaws, such as your propensity to overuse adverbs, passive voice, or that your favorite word is So or Like because you used them 20 times on one page. It points out cliches. Sentences that are too long. And a host of other issues that ruin perfectly good writing. 

Keep in mind--this software only POINTS OUT THE ISSUES. It doesn't change the issues. It doesn't offer suggestions. You will have to sit with your thesaurus or MasterWriter open and find ways to change those problems manually.  

Below is the main page of the Web version, but this program does integrate directly in your Word program as an Add-On if you have PC. Last time I checked, that option isn't available on Mac. If you click on the picture you can see on the left the menu of options it offers to get your work up to snuff. 

Now, here's an example (the early draft of a blog article I wrote on "the Itch") of some issues the software can help point out. In this example I clicked repeated words. As you can see, the program points them out.  I'm only going to do one because I'm totally exhausted and anyone can go to the page and sample the features FOR FREE. But if I was writing a book, I would look at all those icky underlines and find new words to use that weren't so repetitive. 

The great thing about this program is it's CHEAP -- $40 a year. That's significantly cheaper than some other programs that do similar functions. With that said, I use a different one that I think works a bit better in some respects, but it's a little more pricey. If you're on a budget, this is certainly one you want to consider. 

Didn't I tell you I use a lot of writing technologies and programs?
Thank goodness they are tax deductible if you make money as an author. 

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