Just What You’ve Been Looking For!

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Last fall, I wrote about two editing programs I was considering purchasing.

I ended up with Pro Writing Aid.

Now that I have completed my current book, I am using this program to clean everything up before my Beta Readers receive a copy AND before any further revisions are made PRIOR to sending it to my editor.  (That’s right. It shouldn’t take the place of a real, live editor).

All of this is done BEFORE publishing, but you needn’t wait until all of your chapters are written, as I did. Instead, you can use one of the APPS while you are creating, one chapter at a time.

Pro Writing Aid can do a lot for a writer who wants their work to be the best possible. However, to use every feature is laborious and very time consuming.

I suggest you look at this program online and see what features you might want—based on your weaknesses and/or your pet-peeves.

Here’s what I am doing: I copy one chapter at a time into the program. Then, I hit the STYLE button. In a few seconds, a report with suggestions for improvement is generated. It is then my job to read and accept or reject each one. (Do this very carefully, as not every one will make sense for you to use. I find I agree with about 80%)

After STYLE (which includes adverbs, passive verbs, ing starts, etc.), I use GRAMMAR and REPEATED WORDS. (You’ll be surprised at how many you have unknowingly repeated. It blew my mind. This will require a lot of rewriting to get rid of them. However, it is worth it.) 

At the end, I use ECHOES, which shows phrases that are repeated. (For example, I used “Valley of the Sun” a few times. You might not want to repeat a phrase like, “the clouds drifted across the moon”, and so on.) I don’t want to describe things using the same words, over and over again, so I use my thesaurus and tackle each one, separately.

There are several more buttons on the program. I have not used, yet.

I  used my pet peeves (repetitious words and passive verbs) to guide my choices. Just the four reports that I ran—and the time it took to make the changes—took me two hours per every ten double-spaced pages.

You can use as much, or as little, help from this self-editing program as you want. 

You can be as precise as you’d like.

You can spend as much time as you feel you need to.

And, of course, you don’t have to use one of these programs (there are several other good ones) at all. However, I think you owe it to yourself to get the free trial offer and play around with it a bit.

You may find it’s just what you have been looking for!

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