Need a little help to proof and polish your manuscript or story before sending it off to a human copyeditor? Get a running start with these easy-to-use web tools.
The AutoCrit Editing Wizard is a web-based tool geared specifically toward authors. The pro version of the program can analyze a manuscript of up to 100,000 words in length. The system tries to uncover those “pesky first draft problems, saving you valuable time and reducing the potential for embarrassment when you share your writing with that important editor or agent.”
While the program analyzes 11 different aspects of your work, the elements I’ve found the most helpful are those that spot overused/repeated words & phrases, and the visual guides to both pacing and sentence length.
Cost: Free 400-word test version, then 3 different annual subscription options available
The site formerly known as Google Documents is the free online text editor that has been the secret weapon in my writing arsenal. What I love: It has a phenomenally accurate grammar and spell checker, finding even tiny contextual errors. Hit the upload icon to the right of the red create button to upload your document, give it a few seconds to run its analysis, then look for the squiggly red underlines. It’s that simple.
Grammarly is an automated proofreader you use in your browser — with nothing to download — and the company says their online tool will “correct up to 10 times more mistakes than popular word processors.” The web application will look look for contextual spelling errors, check your grammar and punctuation, and analyze your writing style and word choice.
If you’re writing a novel or short story, it’s especially important to select the “creative” option (shown at right) — otherwise the program may consider some of your inventive phrasing to be full of errors. Still, about 90 percent of what the program discovers in my work aren’t actual mistakes — but for the 10 percent it does catch, it absolutely earns its keep.
Cost: Free 7-day trial before subscription required (various options available)
Writing Dynamo’s automated proofreading engine checks your manuscript and scores you on sentence length, sentence structure, redundancy, voice, informal expressions and word choice. Also offers grammar and spell checks. The program is from the company behind Dictionary.com.
Cost: Free 1-week trial before $4.95/month subscription required
Have another one to share? Please post it in the comments below!