Sunday, 21 October 2012

Excellent Editing Software

Part of Ice Diaries on Pro Writing Aid
Yesterday I reached the end of the WIP, Ice Diaries. This is not quite as good as it sounds, as the last couple of chapters are sketchy and need more work, after which it has to go out to beta readers and have further adjustments, but it's still a pleasing moment. 

As well as improving the end and tweaking the whole novel, this is the stage when I put the text chapter by chapter through editing software. For me this is an essential process because of my word echo habit - I'm capable of repeating a word three times in a short blog comment. My awareness of the problem enables me to catch a lot of instances, but not all. I've used Autocrit for the past three years, but discovered my subscription lapsed in July, and it was $77 to renew. This struck me as too much - three years ago I paid $35. So I searched Google for an alternative, and found Pro Writing Aid.

And it's really good - I'm so enthusiastic about it I probably need to add that I am unaffiliated with PRW and if you click on the link I make no money. The design and layout are nice and clear, and the window you paste into is large. The software will check your prose for all sorts of things, most of which I won't be using, but Repeated Words and Phrases and Overused Words are invaluable to me. I especially love the way Repeated Words shows repeats in a range of pretty colours, so you can see the twins (or worse, triplets) at a glance.

Best of all, Pro Writing Aid is free. Woot!


  1. Thanks for this Lexi - I've been looking for somewhere to highlight all the times I use 'just' (and most of the time it doesn't mean anything at all!)

  2. Another weakness of mine is 'it' - and you can't just remove 'it' as you can 'just'. My it/there score is always over the limit.

  3. Well done on getting to the end of the first draft! A huge milestone, even if there is work ahead.

  4. Yes, it's a good feeling :o)

  5. My Autocrit subscription has lapsed too, so I'll definitely be giving this a go! Thanks for the link :o)

  6. Karen, I think you'll be as happy with it as I am.

    Another useful feature is its Consistency checker, which checks your hyphen and capitalization use is consistent.

  7. Hi Lexi

    Thanks for blogging about this. Very helpful indeed.

    Like you, I always go through my work looking for repeated phrases, words, constructions and my own idiosyncratic tics etc. Previously I've done it manually and an incredibly time consuming process it is too.

    This program sounds fantastic! And will definitely help speed things up in getting the MS to Hodder.


  8. I discovered yesterday I had an unsuspected fondness for 'a couple of' - I'm not prepared to disclose how many times I used it in one chapter :o)

    Of course you'd want your typescript to be the best it can be before sending it off to Hodder, Guy, but how good are their editors at picking up anything you've missed?

  9. It sounds a very useful program.

    Can you download the free version to run on your PC?

    I would personally be a bit wary of loading manuscripts onto a website unless confident about security .... it can be like the Wild West out there.

    But I'm no expert!

  10. Q, clearly I am still the wide-eyed trusting soul I was when I came to London at the age of seventeen, long long ago :o)

    I don't think ProWritingAid is a sinister scheme to steal books from innocent writers like me, if only because most of the writing loaded on to it is going to be quite bad. Any evil mastermind at PWA is quickly going to become as disillusioned and jaded as your average literary agent faced with the morning's slush. And we know what they are like...