Week seven of the Tech Savvy Writer posts. Today, we're covering editing and beta reading tools.
Please keep in mind, I am a windows and android user. I don’t use macs or iPhones in my writing life. There may be other alternative for Apple users, but the majority of software I will cover in this blog series is multi-platform.
Once you’ve got your first draft, it’s time to start the editing process. Now, some authors really don’t like the bit, but I love it. This is where your work beings to represent the final product. Let’s look at a few tools to help you on the way.
Before the story changes, I usually run the manuscript through a few different Spelling & Grammar tools.
Grammarly has a free basic plan, and a premium plan with more functionality from $12 a month. There are quite a few sales through the year for half price – and it’s worth waiting for. The brilliant part of Grammarly is that you can add it to your browser, and your apps. Just by writing a twitter post a day, you can use Grammarly to improve, well, your grammar.
It’s fully compatible with Word, Evernote and it’s currently undergoing beta testing for Google Docs. To get Grammarly on your android or iOS device, you’ll need to download the Grammarly Keyboard and follow the instructions on the Grammarly help page to activate it.
Pro Writing Aid helps you to edit faster, fix style issues, find the right words and learn as you edit. I love it because of the learning factor. Realistically, you could get away with either Grammarly or Pro Writing Aid, but I use both. That’s partially personal preference, and partially because I’m dyslexic and I like knowing I’ve got all the help I need at the click of a button.
Pro Writing Aid has a free trial period, and is compatible with Word, Chrome, Scrivener, Windows and Mac. There are extensions for the Firefox, Chrome and Safari web browsers as well. If you try Pro Writing Aid and end up falling in love with it, you can get a monthly subscription for $20 all the way up to a lifetime subscription for a one-off payment of $240. If you are a Nanowrimo participant, there is usually a code for half price.
Now if the price is a turn off, there is always the Hemingway App. It’s a great free alternative. The drawback with this web base application is that it can only do small chunks of text at a time. There’s no way that I can copy the entire 112000 words from Rakemyst into the app and have it work.
They have also got a desktop app available, for $20, which is still cheaper than Grammarly or Pro Writing Aid – but I’d give it a go first to see if it works for you.
Beta readers & Editors:
There’s pretty much only one way that I work with Beta readers and my editors – and that’s using Track Changes in MS Word.
If you go to the Review tab on the ribbon you'll be able to turn Track Changes on and off. If you ever read some one else’s work using Word, the very first thing you should do after opening the document is turn Track Changes on.
When you’re reviewing what someone else has to say about your work, it will show up as comments on the side like this.
To accept or reject a comment, you just click on the most appropriate button - accept or reject.
Stay tuned for next week, when I'll show you how to hit the publish button.