How do you organise your own editing of your creative writing? You’ll find an account of my latest WIP journey here to show how I go about it.
The MS stood at 79,079 words at the end of the edit referred to in that post. I then began the penultimate edit, using ProWritingAid, to check for those grammatical errors, repetitions, and stylistic tics that can easily escape an on-screen edit by the author. Writers are generally too close to the creation to spot all errors and inconsistencies.
Checking with editing software has its advantages but must be done with caution. Even setting the writing style to ‘Creative’, you’ll invariably find the software sees some of your stylistic elements as errors. In particular, it doesn’t like contractions, which I hope most authors use in dialogue, if not in the body of the text (I often use contractions there, as well, as they make the read more fluid). Dialogue without contractions comes across as stilted and awkward.
The software also picks up passive verbs. That’s fine most of the time, but there are times in a story when you want to have an action occur passively from the character’s point of view: when something happens to the player rather than when he/she initiates the action, for instance.
If you allow the software to dictate to you, and follow all its suggestions, you’ll end up with banal, impersonal text. So, although useful, and perhaps even vital for some modern writers, it does require authors to understand the rules of grammar well enough for them to know which can be bent or broken.
My chosen software is ProWritingAid, which I use in the ‘Premium’ version, since that has worked for me for many years now. It integrates with MS Word, my preferred word processing program, well and it is regularly upgraded at no extra cost. However there are many similar programs available. The best way to determine which is best for you is to paste some of your text into the boxes usually provided and see how the suggestions are returned. You can find many grammar checkers online, but I list some programs, most offering a limited free service, here: