Monday, July 14, 2014

Nine Great Tools and Programs to Help You Edit

Between the rough first draft and the finished, polished product lies a lot of editing.

Beta readers, test readers, critique partners, and/or professional editors are all very important. But before we pass our work to any of those people, we have to clean up that messy first draft. (Because yeah, it is a mess.)

Below are some cool features, programs, and site that can help bring order to the chaos.

Microsoft Word’s ‘find’ feature
This feature is great for finding overused words, pet words, and weak adverbs and adjectives. Plus you can catch any misspellings of names. You have to know what to look for, but once armed with a list of words, you can spend days playing search and destroy.

Wordle
Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.
This is also helpful for finding words you overuse without even realizing it!

Here are some other programs (and their official description) that can help with both grammar and style. Some are free and some are paid, so read the fine print.

SmartEdit
SmartEdit is a new, first-pass-editing tool for creative writers and novelists. It's not a replacement for a human editor. Neither is it designed to do your editing for you. It was built to act as an aid—a helper for when you begin editing your work.

ProWriting Aid
ProWritingAid is your free online writing editor and personal writing coach. Of course it checks your grammar but it does much more to help you improve your writing.

AutoCrit 
The AutoCrit Editing Wizard is an instant book editor. With the click of a button it shows you the problems in your manuscript.

Style Writer
Use it to edit advertising copy, business reports, contracts, manuals, newsletters or web pages. Even professional journalists and novelists use the program to polish their writing style.

PaperRater
Robust grammar checking allows you to find those pesky mistakes and correct them before turning in your paper. Find out if your paper contains plagiarized text before your professor does. We compare your text to over 10 billion documents. Our proofreading system alerts you to opportunities to improve your writing.

My Word Count
This writing tool is a standalone program that analyzes your Word document, text file, or Scrivener project for character, word, phrase, and sentence usage. It produces sortable tables of counts for all words and phrases, and graphs sentence length. It can analyze each sentence and assign a grade level difficulty, or help you find your long and hard-to-read sentences. Fine tune your writing and find overused words and phrases.

Grammarly
Grammarly is an automated proofreader and your personal grammar coach Correct up to 10 times more mistakes than popular word processors.

Who’s up for some fun editing?

What programs do you use?

34 comments:

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I need to try Wordle one of these days. Excellent list, Alex.

Pat Hatt said...

Heard of like three at my sea and new the find one. Should look into using the phrase one, as I can use the same word over many a time haha

Linda Kay Christensen said...

Alex, thanks for the sites. I am in the final stage of human edits on my first e-Book, so look forward to running one of these programs to look for those other types of errors. This will be a great help.

Christine Rains said...

What a great list. Thanks, Alex! My best things to help me edit are my awesome CPs. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hope you all find one that helps!

Michelle Wallace said...

I've only read about Grammarly and always wondered what it was all about.
I've never heard of the others... thanks for the list!

Jemi Fraser said...

I love using Wordle first and then the Find tool - so helpful for those crutch words!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Great list, Alex! Thanks for posting.

cleemckenzie said...

So this post shows just how out of the loop I am. I haven't tried any of these. . .well, Find is the exception. Of course, I switched to Apple a few years ago (Vista made me do it), and so I'm a stranger to anything PC these days. I'm sure Apple has equivalents; I just haven't explored them. That's on my list now.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I use the find tool to check for overused words and those name spellings. I've used Grammarly too. I haven't heard of all of these.

Fundy Blue said...

What a great and helpful list, Alex! This is a new world to me! Thank you for sharing it. I mostly use Rhyme Zone (http://www.rhymezone.com), so I can attempt to write comments in rhyme for Pat Hatt! LOL! Have a good one!

Cherie Colyer said...

Thanks for the great resources.

Karen Lange said...

Thanks for the info and links, Alex. I've used two of these, but need to check the others out.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Fundy, good to know about that one.

Lynda R Young said...

I've found many of the editing packages cause me to spend even more time editing so I don't use them. I love critique partners the best ;)

kaykuala said...

Thanks Alex! These will come in handy especially on the overused words and grammer!

Hank

Empty Nest Insider said...

These all sound like wonderful websites! I could definitely use the extra help! Thank you Alex!

Julie

Mina Burrows said...

Great list!

I'd be lost without MS's Find feature.

Ella said...

I love Wordle! Some of these I have heard of and need! I need them all-lol~ Thank you, Captain for taking the time to share!

Gossip_Grl said...

Thanks for sharing these. I used Pro Writing Aid for a short story. I am going to check out the others.

sydneyaaliyah.com said...

I pass my MS through Grammarly chapter by chapter, but my best tool is having it read to me on my mac. I pick up a lot that way.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hey, Alex!!!!

This is a great list! I haven't heard of a few of these. Definitely helpful for all of us!

How are you? I've resurfaced for a minute. Life just stressful and crazy right now. Not much time for blogging, but I hope to be around very soon!

Hope all is well...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad I found some new ones for everyone.

Michael, you have been missed!

Kim Van Sickler said...

I am very good friends with the Find feature of Word. I haven't used the others, but probably not a bad idea. Right now it's just me and my critiquers/beta readers. Thanks for compiling the list, Alex!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Off to check some of these out. Thanks, Alex.

E.E. Giorgi said...

awesome! thanks so much for this list !!

Lanise Brown said...

I'm constantly using the find tool in MS Word. It's an awesome feature. And I totally forgot about Wordle! I used to love making word clouds on that site. Thanks for the reminder. :D

Lexa Cain said...

Great article! I just use the free tools that come with MS-Word...

Jennifer Lane said...

Wow, I hadn't heard of any of these! What's your favorite free program? Thanks for the tips--I know we're both up to our eyeballs in edits!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - I know some of those - but have kept the post so I can check back in anon ..

I hate to think what any grammar tool would do to my writing - but something I need to live with I guess ..

Great ideas though - so many thanks .. should be very helpful in all kinds of 'work' writing .. cheers Hilary

Shah Wharton said...

Think I've tried all of those (Grammarly asked me to try it and mention that's I'd tried it on my blog. It was really good, but it's too expensive), but I found AutoCrit the best, and it's FREE :)

Thanks for the list Alex. :)

shahwharton.com

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Another great post to ear mark!

P V Ariel said...

Hi Alex,
These are some great tools you mentioned.
Wordle is really an interesting tool
and i used it sometime back, hey how to get color wordle?
Thanks for sharing these useful tools to your fellow bloggers.
Have a great day. :-)
Best
~ Phil

Wendy Smith said...

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