ProWritingAid is an essential editing tool
After a month (or two, or three) of writing non-fiction, I’m back at work writing fiction. One of the essential tools I use is ProWriting Aid. I touched on its features briefly in my “R” is for Revising Your Rough Draft blog. I’d like to explain more of why I find it invaluable.
ProWritingAid is more than spelling and grammar.
Let’s examine its features:
- Writing style checks.
- Highlights areas where your writing style might be improved, such as use of passive and hidden verbs.
- Passive verbs:been taught, been raised, was killed. These can change to a more active verb: taught, raised, killed.
- Hidden verbs:a meeting with can change to meet with; the disappearance of can change to dissapear.
- Adverb usage inside and outside of dialogue. I tend to keep adverbs inside dialogue as that’s how people talk.
- Using the same word to start three or more sentences.
- Grammar check. Checks text for grammar errors and potential word misuse.
- Overused word check. Compares the frequency of commonly overused words in text to published writing to give you an indication of where you may be over-using words.
- ProWritingAid, for example, will suggest you remove 13 of the 33 instances you used “had”.
- Approximate reading time
- Points out difficult to read paragraphs.
- Cliches and Redundancies
- Sticky sentences.
- Sticky sentences contain a greater-than-normal amount of small articles and words such as”a, head, out, of, the, way” which slows reading.
- Diction, Vague, and Abstract words report
- Diction—ending sentences with a preposition; simplifying words (using “want” instead of “desire”)
- Vague and Abstract words—it mostly objects to “would, could, some,” but also takes exception to perfectly good words. I mostly ignore this section.
Other ProWritingAid reports:
- Repeats check.
- Points out when you’ve used a word or phrase more than once.
- Close repeats.
- Highlights any words or phrases you’ve used more than once in a short space of writing.
- Sentence length check
- You might want to break up that 43 word sentence.
- By hovering over a word, proWritungAid suggests alternatives
- Dialogue tags check
- Highlights all dialogue, gives a percentage of dialogue used, and counts how many and of which type of tags.
- Spelling consistency
- Hyphenation consistency
- Straight quotes vs. curly quotes
- Capitalization consistency (Commander vs commander)
- Em and en dash use
- Pacing check
- Identifies slow paragraphs, such as backstory and introspection, so you can spread them out.
- Pronoun use
- ProWritingAid suggest 4-15% of pronoun usage and <30% of initial pronoun usage (beginning a sentence with a pronoun)
- Alliteration (spaceship in sub-space)
- Transitions. Transitions make it easier for your reader. I fail woefully at transitions.
- House styles. You can set up your own style sheet.
- Plagiarism. This is a paid report.
ProWritingAid is a paid platform at $40 per year. There is a limited FREE version for a 14 day period. I suggest trying the free version first to determine if the software is compatible to you.
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