by Pascale Potvin
Once you’ve completed your book-length draft, that’s when the real work of editing begins. The following 4 editing and proofreading solutions (3 apps & 1 human) will take the guesswork out of cleaning up your writing and help you deliver your shiniest edited and proofread work to the world.
(Or read our comprehensive overview on the 6 best writing apps out there!)
Congratulations—you’ve just finished that novel/dissertation/memoir/ business book you’ve worked so hard on!
Well … almost finished.
The rumours are true: the editing process is when the true writing starts to happen. Think of it like you’ve just built a foundation to a house: it’s solid and sure, but now that structure slowly has to evolve into a home.
These 4 Editing and Proofreading Solutions are What You Need When You Just Can’t See Your Work Anymore!
The problem with proofreading your own work is once you’ve already stared at your project so much, you can no longer see it- or the typos- properly.
Once we hold our eyes on anything for too long, that thing will inevitably start to distort. (Kind of like how repeating the same word aloud a few times makes it start to sound like gibberish).
Well, that’s where these word processors in the shape of writing apps come in (great segue, right?). Just like there are resources out there for every other step of the writing process, there are plenty of writing apps to help you with your proofreading.
1. Overused Words and Phrases: WriteWords
Writing app WriteWords has created a couple of useful programs that can help you freshen up your work.
As a writer, you probably have those few handfuls of words and phrases that you love to use (don’t we all?). You might have, however, become so comfortable with those words that you’ve lost your awareness of just how much you’re using them. The WriteWords online Word Frequency Counter and Phrase Frequency Counters, thankfully, are great aids for finding overused word crutches. They’ll give you wonderful insight about how you can unstick your work and give it better flow.
2. The Online Cliché Finder by Arczis
The Cliché Finder will similarly detect common expressions in your writing: phrases that are overwrought, overused, and simply over. It’s easy to use clichés – purposefully or inadvertently. They’re such a common part of our daily language, they’re like wallpaper. While familiarity is nice in some situations, in writing, you might wish to avoid lulling your reader to sleep.
Fresh language and new ways of illustrating things will always set you apart from your less innovative peers. Let this app show you where you can step in and try again.
3. Spelling, Word Use & Sentence Structure: Grammarly
Grammarly seems like a terrific idea: a writing app that catches most of your errors, awkward sentences, and missed words plus teaches you in little thought bubbles what you did wrong so you can learn from your mistakes. If you regularly misspell certain words or are subject to the particular (and incorrect) verbal tics of our time (ones that would otherwise illustrate to your reader you’re not aware of what is accurate), this app is fabulous.
4. A Professional Editor
As wonderful as all of these online tools are, you can’t depend solely on them. No writing software is ever going to replace the human touch of a professional editor. Computers are great at detecting patterns, but only human editors are able to work from an artistic perspective. Whether they’re providing developmental feedback or copyediting, they’ll do it understanding how each word choice and every comma affects the tone and overall experience of your work.
Plus, if ever you want to collaborate on new directions, need help or guidance as to how to implement craft, or simply aren’t sure of the flow and layout of your ideas, an editor will support you to achieve all of this in your work, have your back throughout, and be an excellent sounding board as you grow as a writer.
Why do we have an entire business dedicated to helping writers of all types get the support they need? For this exact reason: going through your writing career alone is hard. By having someone at your side who is there for you- and for your work- you’ll always feel confident and sure you’re sharing your best writing with the world.
If this sounds like a relief, give us a holler. We’re happy any time to talk about your writing, your goals, and anything in-between.
Disclaimer: We are in no way affiliated with or sponsored by the mentioned services and cannot guarantee a 100% accurate portrayal of the software.
Sometimes I think that editing should be left completely to a professional. My advice to new authors is to churn out the raw draft and turn the manuscript over to your editor. What you say in this article is true. I think I’m doing myself and my editor (Jenna) a favour by polishing it before I surrender the draft to her. However, I do the first edit of my draft on my own. But as authors, we know our work so intimately that we miss much of what should be changed, including those words that go missing as we frantically pour out the story in the making. Clichés are my downfall as I use them in everyday conversation. They are boring and make a story ordinary. Readers want fresh approaches to the language of the story, uniqueness in the details of character, and plot. And, as for sentence structure, I use the same kind of sentences and forget to vary length and construction. I use Grammarly but it has flaws. There is nothing better than a second set of eyes.
When I first started writing, I thought that using an editor was cheating, that they make changes that diminish your own voice. I now realize that finding the right editor, helps bring out your voice with an intensity and clarity that is impossible to capture in a first draft.
Thanks, Pascal. Good advice. I enjoyed this article.