ProWritingAid is an essential part of a writer's toolbox.

ProWritingAid is an essential editing tool

ProWritingAid is an essential part of a writer's toolbox.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”.
  • Readability.
    • 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:

    ProWritingaid helps eliminate errors in your writing

  • 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.
  • Thesaurus
    • 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.
  • Consistency
    • 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)
  • Homonym
  • 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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7+ tips to revise your rough draft and take your book to the next level.

For today’s AtoZChallenge, the letter “R” will show you how to revise your rough draft.

(This post is a revised {a pun!} copy of an earlier blog . I am recycling it for today’s AtoZChallenge. The information is as relevant. 7+ tips to revise your rough draft and take your book to the next level. www.cherylsterlingbooks.comI will show you 7+ tips to revise your rough draft and take your book to the next level).

I’ve just finished the final, final, final edits for Snow White and the Eighth Dwarf. Proofreading it was a long, laborious process, as I wrote 56K of the story last July in a rough NaNo like session. The first draft was not pretty. {Note:This book has been published and is available on Amazon as an ebook and paperback, and Smashwords.}

Let’s face the ugly truth. You’ve spent months, maybe years, writing a book and you have a big, sloppy mess. How do you revise your rough draft, clean it, and make it look good?

Look for inconsistencies.

Did your main character change names, eye color, or gender? Did you mention magic in the first chapter, but no one casts any spells? Does your forest setting change to a desert for no reason? Check your timeline to verify your protag and antag are on the same day. Because of the time involved in writing a book, many details can get lost. Look for inconsistencies and fix them.

Fill in the holes.

When proofreading, fill in the holes of your story. My first draft looks like a tic-tac-toe game.

My first draft looks like a tic-tac-toe game.

I write very fast because I don’t want the bright, shiny light of inspiration to dim. Get the words down, get them down fast is my motto. Fill in the holes later. My first draft is full of XXX’s, my all-purpose placeholder for research I need to do, nameless characters (example from my current WIP: “Name1, Name2, Name3, Name4 and Name5, thank you for coming here today.”), or descriptions that need filling in (example: more here of her physical trauma xxxx.) My first draft is a tic-tac-toe game. Revising is the time to do the research, decide on the names, and fill in the holes. Continue reading “R” is for Revise your Rough Draft—#AtoZChallenge

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