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The Write Software: Editing

Oh No! I said it! Editing Software! Editing Software! Editing Software! Okay, I’m done being silly. Seriously though this list is in no way a guide to replacing a professional or human editor. These are just a few ways to help catch basic errors and possibly save a few bucks in the editing process.

Free Software

Hemingway Editor– I personally haven’t tried it but many of my writing peers enjoy this program immensely. It’s not as flashy as Grammarly, but it does have a desktop app.

Basic layout but functional

Grammarly– Yes, I know that Grammarly offers a paid subscription to access their full features, but if you write short stories and don’t mind using a web browser to edit your work, the free version is just fine.

Fancy layout but similar features as Hemingway

Paid Software

Grammarly Premium

I have a premium subscription and “I put that ish on everythang!”. No, seriously. I have the keyboard on my phone, the add-in for MS Word, my browser, and email. When you are supposed to be a professional writer, you can’t let them catch you slippin’ in these streets.

Pricing
  • Monthly Subscription $29.95/month
  • Quarterly Subscription $19.95/month billed as one payment of $59.95
  • Annual Subscription $11.95/month billed as one payment of$139.95

For a detailed review and a 20% discount on the premium version, check out Grammarly Review 2019 by Brian Collins on becomeawritertoday.com

Fictionary

Photo from https://prowritingaid.com

Fictionary is meant to be an extra editing layer between your self-edits and a professional editor. I found it to be a little cumbersome with a slight learning curve even after watching the provided tutorials. Otherwise it’s the only program I know where you are actually editing for content and not just line editing.

The best feature: Being able to see your plot points in graph form.

The worst feature: Only able to work on one project at a time.

Pricing
  • Offers a 14 day free trial no credit card needed
  • Monthly Subscription $20
  • Annual Subscription $200

For a detailed review of Fictionary Click Here

AutoCrit

Biggest Claim to fame is being able to compare your work to Best Sellers in your genre.

Best Feature: Whatever algorithms they use, it actually works! I got lots of positive feedback from my beta readers and editor after submitting a short story I put through the program.

Worst Features*: It’s a web-based app so not good if you have slow internet or a computer with not enough functional memory. I have issues with it lagging or freezing up when working with larger documents (close to their 50K max word suggestion). Also no reliable autosave, have to manually save before switching tabs otherwise your editing progress will be lost.

Pricing
  • Basic Plan $10/month No comparison feature and limited to 1000 words at a time
  • Professional Plan $30/month Comparison Feature, genre preference, customized report
  • Elite Plan $80/month adds an author spotlight and writing courses to the Professional Plan
  • Deals on Membership: 14-day Trial for $1 if you sign up for the professional or Elite plan. NaNoWriMo 2018 deal $45 for three months (what I am currently using)

Check out this article by TechRadar for a detailed review

*Update 5/20/2019: I can’t honestly recommend AutoCrit as I had a terrible customer service experience with the billing department. Was over charged several times despite paying for several months in advance. I was refunded but cancelled my subscription because I rather not have to worry about random funds being pulled from my accounts.

WhiteSmoke Writing Assistant

WhiteSmoke is another option that I have just started playing with. I haven’t used it much but it seems to be comparable to Grammarly and Hemmingway just without the fancy platform.

Features

  • Online, mobile, and computer based software
  • Grammar checker
  • plagiarism checker
  • Translator
  • Tiered Subscription Plan

Pricing

  • Essential (online only) $8.33/month billed as $49.95 for the year
  • Premium (online and software download) $13.33/month billed as $79.99 for the year
  • Business (online and software up to three computers) $22.99/month billed as $137.94 for the year

Mobile App can be included with each for an additional $1

So that’s it for the editing software that I am aware of. If there are any others you use or have heard of feel free to put it in the comment section below!

The Write Process: Editors

Editing can not only be expensive but you have to be sure what editing you are getting in the process. Each editor will have their own system and definitions so be sure to check their website to clarify what services they provide and the cost of each.

Professional editing costs range from $300-$5000 depending on what type of editing you choose, the length of your manuscript, and the amount of errors in your work.

Three Main Types of Editing

Copy Editing– Focuses on basic grammar and punctuation. Sometimes called line editing or proofreading. Usually, the cheapest form of editing. Many editors charge by the word with an average cost of $0.34-$0.50 per word.

Content Editing– focuses on plot and story structure. I prefer to do this type of editing on my own but its always a good idea to have an outside pair of eyes take a look. Whether you pay a professional or rely on your Alpha/Beta readers to help with this is up to you. Cost is similar to Copy Editing.

Comprehensive Editing– Both Copy and Content editing, also style editing in some cases. The most expensive type of editing, but worth it if you don’t want to do as much editing on your own.

Finding the Right Editor

Editing is one area you don’t want to cut corners. Finding the right editor for you and your budget is a lengthy but necessary process. While you can find editors on gig sites like Fiverr or smaller independent editors through social media, I highly suggest checking out more reputable sources first. Even if you only get a free test edit from a larger expensive editing firm. It can show you what you need to look for before taking a chance on a smaller operation.

Things to Consider

  • Find an editor in your niche– if the editor you find mostly works with non fiction they may not be a good fit for your high fantasy epic
  • Ask about different payment options– With some services having large price tags, most editors have some sort of payment plan or down payment system. be sure to ask before committing to any editor
  • Get a sample edit!– The editor might look perfect on their website, they may even check all your perceived criteria but until you see how they work with your writing, you can’t be sure they are what you need.
  • Find editors based on books you love– it’s more common for editors to be listed in the copyright section of books. So pick up a few books in your genre and find which ones you absolutely loved. Maybe their editor will be open to new clients.

Editors Associations

The Write Process: Alphas and Betas

I know in my Rules for writing a first draft I stated “not to talk about write club” but that was just for the initial output of ideas. Now that your draft is completed and you’ve given it cursory scrub in the first edit, it’s time to share the wealth. I am not talking about hitting the publish button just yet. Your draft is still just that a draft and it will go through several more drafts before it’s done. This is where alpha readers, beta readers, and professional editors come in.

Alpha Readers

These are the first people to lay eyes on your work. Their critiques can help you find the holes in your plot that you hadn’t noticed before. Tell you if your characters are relatable and give you input on how marketable your story may be. These are all good insights to have before shipping your work off to the editor or pitching your manuscript to an agent or publishing company.

Beta Readers

Betas are your final scrub team. They can also be the same group you used as Alpha readers or a completely different set of people all together. Beta readers will give you many of the same insights as Alpha readers but since they will have your completed and formatted work at their disposal they can also check for formatting errors and anything else missed in previous rounds of polishing. Most Beta Readers will also gladly provide reviews for your books in exchange for the opportunity to read your story before its published.

Where to Find Your Crew

The best place to find Alpha’s and Betas is within your own writing circle. People within your local writing group, other writer friends.

Family members you can trust to give honest feedback. I myself use my sisters and sometime even my mom to help me with my drafts. I am lucky in that they all are avid readers of the genre I write and really don’t care about hurting my feelings if they feel the story isn’t up to par.

I have also used writers groups online. Simply asking for people who would be interested in being a beta reader, although this approach is hit or miss. Out of the ten that said they were interested, only five provided emails to receive my work and out of those five only two actually provided feedback. One I traded critiques with but none were repeat customers.

By far the best experience I had online with finding critiques online was using the writer’s community of Scribophile. The site is a critique for critique format and while it takes work to get a good community, it’s definitely worth it in my opinion.

Check out Scribophile Here

The Write Process: 1st Edit

First I would like to say that even if you are the best grammarian you know, having a professional look over your work is always best. With that being said, before you drop $$$ on that professional look you should at least do some editing on your own.

If you are going the traditionally published route, unless you already have a deal in place your first draft isn’t what you want to submit to a publisher for review. At the very least, your work needs to be edited for major plot holes.

That’s why in my writing process, plot holes is the first round of editing. Unless you outlined you story to death beforehand, it’s very common to find glaring holes in your plot or actions that don’t really make sense to your characters personality or motivation.

This first look is strictly about tightening up your story. Don’t worry about grammar and punctuation just yet. Why not? I personally think that it’s better to stay in the free form mode when editing for the plot. I am more creative that way and my new writing may not be so grammatically correct. I rather catch all of that at once, if I can.

Bonus doing some self-editing can save you money on professional editing. The more polished the draft, the less time and corrections for the editor to make. Depending on the length of your work and how your chosen editor charges their fee, that could mean the difference of a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars.

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