This is a post by Novel Publicity President, Emlyn Chand
Writers, today I’d like to share my absolute favorite craft-improvement tool with you: AutoCrit Editing Wizard.
We all know the importance of a good editor. At least, I hope we do. We’ve blogged about it more than once over here on the Free Advice blog. The problem for many of us remains – hiring an editor can get pricey! Sure, beta readers can help, but they’re not the be-all end-all in the editorial chain.
Allow me to introduce the most powerful piece of editing software I’ve ever come across: AutoCrit Editing Wizard. While it’s true that this program is not a substitute for a professional editor, it is one of those things you’ll end up wondering how you ever survived without (thus joining the ranks of cell phones, DVRs, Kindles, and GPS units).
What makes this seemingly simple tool completely and unequivocally wonderful?
It points out your writing problems and tells you exactly how to fix them. It provides interesting metrics, such as the reading level of your work and the variation of sentence length. It analyzes pacing, highlights clichés and redundancies, and oh-so-much more.
I found this tool rather late in the process of editing my first novel—how I wish I’d found it earlier!
Running my manuscript through the wizard quantified my bad writing habits in a way nothing else could. I learned that I used the term that often as many as 50 times more than I should within a single chapter. I also had a penchant for poisonous verbs such as look, see, feel, know, hear – the types of words that remove the reader from the character. Oh, and passive voice! This was a problem too. Not to mention an overabundance of exposition, misused dialogue tags, and more.
These problems seem like a lot to tackle, don’t they?
It’s enough to make even the most talented writer (and, let’s be honest, that ain’t me) doubt herself. So why am I recommending the use of the wizard? Because it identifies problems and tells you how to fix them! This is why I used past tense when describing my problems above – my problems are in remission or, at the very least, undergoing treatment.
My favorite feature, the overused word report, displays the number of instances of a term in your manuscript and suggests a target number for removal. This is based on a suggested rate of use per 100 words as identified by the developers’ study of published fiction. They’ve compiled a list of recommended frequencies for each of the most overused terms, which they run every time you push the “analyze my text” button on AutoCrit.
Check out the example below to see which terms the wizard checks for overuse.
You can enter passages of your writing up to 400 words and three times per day without purchasing a license, but you won’t have access to all of the report options. You can buy yearly licenses to access more features and higher word-count limitations for prices between $47 for a gold membership and $117 for a professional membership. This may seem like a lot, but try finding something more worthwhile to spend your hard-earned freelance writing dollars on – I challenge you. And you don’t have to take my word for it, try running a segment of your manuscript through the editor, see what happens. You’ll be hooked, like I was – like I am!
These days, I don’t consider a first draft complete until it’s gone through the wringer with AutoCrit. Why burden beta readers with my annoying that habit when it’s just as easy to run the wizard and then ctrl+F those suckers out of there?
*Note: I have zero affiliation with AutoCrit other that my giant fandom.
About this post’s author:
Emlyn Chand is the president of Novel Publicity and a YA author. She loves to hear and tell stories and emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). Her first novel Farsighted released in late 2011 and is of the YA genre. Learn more about Emlyn at www.emlynchand.com or by connecting with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or GoodReads.