Online Editing Software (Chronicle #2)

I mentioned in a prior post that I used the AutoCrit Editing Wizard for my novel Crimson & Cream.  Before I purchased the service, I did some research on online editing tools.  They seem to be very polarizing to people, with a lot of haters.  Personally, I thought it was a helpful tool and I feel like I got my worth $77 for a year's subscription.  I'm not going to walk you through the mechanics of the service (that's all available on their website), however, I will mention some of the features I found useful:

  • Sentence Length Variation shows you the number of words in each of your sentences, and makes it easy to identify run-on sentences.
  • Repeated Words and Phrases does what it says and highlights text that is used multiple times in your document.
  • Dialogue identifies your "he said," "she said" tags, and lets you easily compare these.
It also spits out a ton of word data on your document, such as word count, average sentence length, reading level, and many others. 

One of the features I found limiting was the word count limit.  The "Platinum" package I ordered allowed the analysis of up to 8,000 words at a time.  This meant I had to analyze 2-3 chapters at a time, instead of my entire novel at once.  In retrospect, this may be somewhat of a blessing in disguise, as it forces you to look at your writing in smaller chunks.  I ended up analyzing chapter-by-chapter, which meant I cut, pasted, and analyzed 28 separate blocks of text.

In general, I think it's a great tool to ensure you have word variety in your text by pointing out your tendencies, such as overuse of certain words and phrases.  I don't want to imply that it takes the place of a good human copy reader or editor, though.