Writing Tool: ProWritingAid

DISCLAIMER: All editing software should be used at the discretion of the writer. Editing tools are NOT substitutes for editors to assist with your novel or book. This should be used to help your writing BEFORE editing so you turn in a cleaner copy.

PLEASE USE AN EDITOR IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR EXTENSIVE EDITS OR FOR DEVELOPMENTAL STRUCTURE.

 

Okay, I think I started the post accordingly.

I’ve started using another tool to help me streamline the editing process called ProWritingAid. This tool can be used as an add-on in Google Docs and Microsoft Word. You can also sign up and use it on their website. Since I use a standard font, I use this tool once I compile my document from Scrivener and copy the corrections back inside Scrivener after I’m done.

Here is a little of how ProWritingAid works with some screen shots. (Please excuse the message in the Word doc about reactivating the subscription – for some reason, I get it every time, despite paying the subscription fee every month. The techs haven’t been helpful getting this message off.)

You can choose to edit a large manuscript or a small portion. If you’re using Word, edit a small portion at a time, especially with Windows 10. I find using this method easier on memory and time. When I tried larger portions, it froze due to the amount of errors and corrections needed.

You can choose to do a full report or one report at a time. Look at all the options you have. Pretty options.

PWA4

(Yes, my name is edited out for personal reasons.)

Now, after you select your report, you’ll see the edited screen after you pop your add-on tool.

PWA

Here are some examples of things the tool looks for when running your reports. Check out the highlighted boxes to see what I mean.

PWA3

PWA5

PWA6

Nifty little thing.

But like all tools, there’s a few quirks to be aware of.

1. Be prepared for lots of spelling checks if you’re using different names.
If you added your characters names to your dictionary, you’ll be okay. Same with towns, locations, etc. However, if not, expect it to flag everything. You can choose to ignore it, though.

2. It highlights every adverb with the message to use sparingly in your novel or writing.
Sometimes, you NEED the adverb if you cannot explain what a character is doing with emotion or voice tone. Think about this before deleting or replacing the adverb. Physical actions, dialogue and scenery should describe the atmosphere of your novel. If you’re using -ly words too often, it may be time to reevaluate your writing style.

3. Catching prepositions at the end of cut off dialogue.
I’m bad with this, but dialogue—real dialogue—is messy. Have you listened to people talking at the mall, on the phone—in the middle of an argument? They’re not grammatically correct. Depending on the character’s temperament or scene, words WILL end at certain places, sometimes in the middle of sentences. Watch this. If the scene calls for it to end there, leave it—or discuss with your editor if you’re worried about the errors.

If not, press on. People know dialogue can be messy business, especially if someone’s cutting the other person off. Listen to someone with bad ADHD sometime and you’ll see what I mean. (I cite from experience, here.)

4. Glue words.
This belongs in the “Sticky sentences check”, but calls it “glue words” when going through the editing. Most of mine happen in dialogue—again, when it’s not grammatically correct.

This is something to consider, especially if the majority of your story CONSISTS of glue words. Sometimes, we can’t help but use glue words. I’m not saying to use them in all dialogue, but keep in mind how you structure your sentences.

However, if the scenes works the way it is, maybe it’s not worth changing.

Evaluation: 4 out of 5.

ProWritingAid costs $40 dollars for a one year license, but you can sign up for a 14 day trial to see how you like it. So far, I’ve gotten more out of the four days I’ve signed up with the program than I could constantly rechecking my work. For me, this program is a winner and I will be investing in the software after the trial is over.

If you’re interested in ProWritingAid, you can sign up for it here.

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