Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Editing Sucks! But there are tools to make it Better

Editing is a big issue for many writers. Not to mention that one doesn’t usually have the money to pay for a professional editor prior to submitting their novel to Lit Agents or Publishers.

But there is software available to help a writer tighten up their manuscript prior to sending it out for submission. In cases of publishing their own works, using these tools can help get a manuscript as clean as possible prior to sending it to an editor.


Editors are human. They make errors, don’t find things, and unknowingly miss obvious errors in works also. No book is without room for improvement. An author should always try to get their work in the best possible shape BEFORE it goes to the editor to ensure that their work is represented at its best.

I’ve paid editors to edit work and there were still errors – even had proof readers after final edits. But the human eye, and talent for editing is rather unique with each editor used.

For example, if you had a bowl full of cherries, some good and some rotten … wouldn’t you rather start cleaning up the bowl with less rotten cherries and wouldn’t you most likely be able to clean up all the messy cherries when there aren’t too many?


Use these tools when you have personally edited your manuscript as best as you can: after you have had your work critiqued by other authors and beta read at least 3 times, with cleaning it up yourself thereafter.

Once the above steps are completed, then purchase short membership and use of tool for specific types of errors.

Autocrit – I’ve used Autocrit to find my repeated words and phrases mostly. It has a free offering for testing it out on it’s website. Just use the free feature if you only produce a book a year, but if you are like me and kick out three a year a minimum subscription really helps. I do the gold membership for $47 since I edit in small pieces.

Grammarly – I have a habit of using the wrong word in cases where there are two words that say the same thing but doesn’t mean the same thing. Grammarly is a great tool for helping me find these issues. It’s cheap at $19.95 a month and I only use it the month I want to edit my book. Then I cancel the subscription. I use this on my 2nd and 3rd drafts prior to submitting to agents or an editor for my small press to publish.

MasterEdit – This is a good tool at just $30 if you plan on using it frequently. I haven’t used it yet myself but plan on purchasing it and trying it out next year for the three manuscripts I have planned. I hope to use it after my 3rd run through critique partners and beta readers.

MyWriterTools – This is also a cheap tool, now on sale for $24.95 that works within MS Word as an add-on. It covers all of the features of the above tools and can be useful while writing that first draft. I’m planning on using this also so that I can have a cleaner first draft. Hopefully, it won’t slow my progress.

StyleWriter is also an add-in but for me personally it looks too complex. It has great customizable features though and is free for downloading and trying out. So check it out and see if it meets your needs over the above.

AutomatedEditing – This monthly membership works in a similar way as Autocrit but you can also try it out for free. I prefer Autocrit over this one but most likely due to personal preference.

Kibin – Use this site for a critique of sorts. Great feedback is given here and if you are having problems securing good beta readers (I get mine from and yalitchat) or a critique partner here’s a good resource for feedback. Just have thick skin.


Keisha Martin said...

I have an editor but you're right it's expensive,I use white smoke but although I still have the software I stopped because it became a crutch and I really want to learn to edit myself. however, although I'm a ferocious writer 2011 wrote five books unpublished nor epublished I realize I will always need someting to help me edit if i want to make writing my career.

LM Preston said...

I believe you should edit your best previous to using the tools. Only use them after you think what you have is perfect.

Beth said...

Thanks LM these are great tools to know about.

April Plummer said...

Thanks for these! I can't afford an editor. I can't afford to purchase any of that software yet, either. But I will once Christmas debt's paid off.

Kelly Hashway said...

LM, you're going to put me out of work. LOL. Just kidding. I am a freelance editor though. And yes, we are human. I find at least one error in every published book I read. That's why I read all my clients' manuscripts twice to double check myself.

CeCe said...

Hi LM,

Great tools. I need one of those. :)
Thanks for the list.

Catherine Stine said...

I actually love to edit, and I do mss critiques, as Kelly does. But is can get very nit-picky.
Interesting tools!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like interesting tools :-)
I am getting close to the editing stage and while looking forward to it, any tips are always welcome! :-)
Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here. The sketch is tasteful, your authored subject matter stylish. nonetheless, you command get bought an impatience over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come more formerly again since exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this hike.
Karaoke Revolution Glee: Volume 3 Bundle

Mara Valderran said...

Great tools! I use autocrit too but I am gonna look into myWriterTools. Thanks for the tip!