Editing Software Tools For Writers

Editing For WritersThere are many tools to help people with writing such as word processors, apps, pen and paper and more. Never has it been easier to record the written word into a manuscript. However, what do you do with your draft once it is complete? Until recently, you paid a high price for an editor to go over it for grammar, spelling, and content errors. Today, there are software tools to help bring down the cost of hiring an editor. I use some of these tools myself, going over my manuscript in layers, each program helping me locate certain issues that I want to address before I pack it up and send it to my human editor. By doing so, I save money since the final corrections that the editor makes are minimal.

All of the programs I review below have not contacted me to review them. I selected them because they are ones that I know about and use myself.

Hemingway
Price: $6.99

This is my new favorite editing software program. I use it on all my stories for editing after I’ve run them through Word’s spelling and grammar check. Hemingway is designed to help you write more like the famous author. Hemingway was known for writing short, concise sentences that got to the heart of the meaning like a razor. To use Hemingway the program, you either open your Word file in the program or cut and paste a passage into it. In a moment, Hemingway will show you a color coded version of your text. It will not change anything. You do that manually. Blue shows you adverbs, green highlights passive voice and prompts how to fix it, yellow is a slightly complex sentence, red is a jumbled sentence, and purple are words that you may wish to simplify.

Hemingway can be used as a writing tool. It will open a new document and save it like any word processor. It also supports Markdown. The program is available for both Apple and Windows.

Do I perform all the corrections that Hemingway prompts? The answer is no. However, seeing my words in a clear manner where all the adverbs and passive voice in the manuscript are highlighted is helpful. I’ve been referring this program to all the writers in my critique groups and everyone simply loves it.

Unsuck-it
Price: Free

As a writer, we all get in a rut and start to use terms that may be useful to only our particular field or genre of writing. These terms often are hard to parse out and state in simple words as you are writing. Unsuck-it is an aid that gives you alternate words to use in plain English. This is not just another online thesaurus. It is geared toward finding alternate words that would work best in a conservative business environment. When you are stuck….unsuck-it!

Creativity Portal’s Imagination Prompt
Price: Free

Writing prompts are always welcome, for writing blog posts, journal entries or using as story starters. This one is free. Just click the button and a new prompt will be shown to you. Keep clicking until you find one that works for you. What is more, the prompt portal is part of a writing community that could be fun to join if you are so inclined. It is worth checking out if you like using prompts.

The Readability Test Tool
Price: Free

Knowing the level of readability for what you are writing can be an invaluable tool. If you are writing YA, you don’t want the reading level of your work to go further than the age group you are aiming your book for. It is also a good test to run on your essays and short stories to find out their readiblity score. If your story reads for college level, it could be that you need to simplify your story. With the exception if it is an essay for a doctorate thesis or literary magazine. You will need to have your work online in order to input the URL for the engine to find it.

Portent’s Content Idea Generator
Price: Free

I have plenty of fun with this generator site. It develops titles for blog posts based on the ideas you feed into it. You only can do one at a time, but if you have a few minutes to spare, it is worth it to see what oddball titles it will come up with.

Wordcounter
Price: Free

This free website offers to find and rank the most frequently used words in your text. You use this to see which words you overuse and to find keywords in your document. It does have a few fillers to remove conjunctions and other words you wouldn’t want in the report. Since it is free, it is worth looking at to add to your editing process. I don’t use this one any longer because I have this feature in Smart-Edit, a more robust program that I purchased last year. However, if you prefer a free tool, Wordcounter gets the job done.

Advertisements

39 thoughts on “Editing Software Tools For Writers”

    1. I’m sure you will love it, Jenanita. I’ve been touting this program for months to all my writer friends and they have nothing but positive things to say about it too.

  1. Reblogged this on Helen Treharne and commented:
    Have to reblog this.. No Wasted Ink is always a great “go to” blog for writing tips and this is another useful post. Self editing is notoriously difficult and if you can use some tools to help with some of it it’s worth it. I use online/ add in tools to help identify some of my own bad habits as it’s easy to miss them when you’re on your fourth read of a manuscript eg frequently used words or adverbs. I know I will have some of the critters in there, they always slip through, and being able to quickly identify them before I start the real slog of detailed line editing is useful. I use a couple of paid ones for different things, depending on what I want and if I want to copy/paste or not. Grammarly and Autocrit are useful tools. Ginger useful too but it’s “suggestions” for improvement often miss the mark. I love the freebie suggestions here – few I’ve not heard of but will definitely try.

  2. This is really helpful. I have to try Hemingway; it sounds very useful. It’d tell me to get rid of the adverbs. 😉 Thanks for another informative post.

    1. There is more you can do to proof your writing than simple spellcheck these days. All the programs do not replace a human editor, but they go a long way in bringing down the costs when you hire one.

  3. Hi Wendy. I love your Monday links. I’ve been considering getting the Hemingway app, as the free version isn’t always practical. I was wondering if you know, once we download the app, if it can be used on multiple computers?

      1. Thanks Wendy. What I meant was can the app be used across multiple computers, ie: on my laptop and desktop etc. or only works on the one device it’s loaded on? Thanks again.

  4. Excellent post. No, you can’t do without an editor, but you can greatly reduce the amount of work and cost by using various self-editing tools, and improve your work even more when it gets to the editor.

    I use Autocrit. Highly recommend. It’s comprehensive, challenging almost to the point of frustration — but so is a good editor. 🙂

    Another great editing method is to listen to your book using one of those text-to-speech programs, or upload to your ebook device and have it read to you. Your ears will catch errors your eyes never will.

      1. As a cost-saving tip, I would make the following suggestion to anyone considering Stylewriter: The basic version is too primitive for a fiction writer, and the most expensive one just adds statistical info which I have little use for. The intermediate edition is the best for us scribblers. It’s extremely versatile and once you get the hang of it, will improve how you write by having you question your word choices etc. Best wishes to all and Keep Writing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s