Sunday, August 16, 2015

Editing for Indies

As an indie living on a negative income, hiring an editor isn’t in the cards. Fortunately we have this glorious thing called technology, and a copy-editor is only a few lines of code away.  This is a rundown of a few of the editing programs I use to tighten and polish my writing.  All of these programs are free in their online form.

I'm not advocating these as replacements to editors--they will make mistakes. They are just machines after all. But these are great for turning out a tighter, corrected draft, and then someone wont have to spend hours circling all your adverbs.

The purpose of the Hemingway Editor is to tighten your prose and eliminate superfluous words and sentences. Simplification is its goal. There is also a desktop version available for $9.99
--Targets hard-to-read sentences and phrases
--Locates adverbs and lets you know if you have too many
--Locates passive voice and lets you know if you use it too often
--Analyzes reading level of your work
--Lets you edit in the window

My favorite part about this one is the fact that you can edit the text right in the window, and its great for simplifying one’s work.  It isn’t great for fine editing though because there’s a lot of grammar related stuff that gets left out in this editing process.

From Dr. Wicked, creator of Write or Die, boon to NaNoWriMo participants everywhere, comes editMinion. This is an online only editor and can only handle small chunks of text at a time (By small chunks I mean a few thousand words--will function a chapter at a time, but not the whole novel.)  It has some ‘just for fun’ stuff like “random writing quote” and a breakdown of latin/greek/germanic words. Covers a multitude of sins.  It hunts down:

--Weak words
--Over-used words
--Passive voice
--Preposition endings

It does not let you know how many is too many, which is probably it’s weakness. Other weaknesses include an inability to edit within the analysis, meaning you have to stick it up side by side with your word processing program, & your eyeballs feel like they’re watching a game of Pong.  Still, is a great editor if you don’t want to be overwhelmed, because the next one is uber overwhelming.

This is the most complex and thorough of the editors.  It’s crazy how much you can do with the free version of this editor.  It’s so big it has a users manual.

--Overused words
--Writing style check (adverbs, passive sentences, repeated phrases)
--Analyzes sentence length & paragraph length
--Cliches, redundancies, vague wording
--Grammar check w/ suggestions on how to change/fix
--TONS more

The downside to this one is that you again, cannot edit your analyzed text.  You also have to register to use it, which isn't the end of the world, but annoying. It throws a lot of stuff at you at once. The paid version of this program has even MORE stuff, including the ability to edit within the program, BUT the paid version is a subscription starting at $35 a year.

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