So You’re In the Editing Doldrums Again? These 5 Sites Can Help

After you’ve written your novel and revised the BLEEP out of it, one thing remains:

To edit your manuscript!

 For those of you who are confused:

Revision worries about the characters, the plot, the setting, and the pacing.
In other words: The Big Picture. 
Editing is all about word flow and grammar.
In other words: The Details.

Here are the top sites I use when editing my novel.

5 Sites That Can Help You Edit Your Manuscript

1. Do you need a checklist to even know where to start?

One of the most useful checklists I’ve found was at theWriteLifeLogo:

It talks about standard grammar mistakes, crutch words, and bad habits.

Now, not all of the things it suggests cutting need to be deleted. Adverbs (often words ending in -ly) and passive voice both have their place, but cutting down on the instances of those things can make your writing stronger.

2. Do you need help replacing your crutch words?

Try your basic, friendly, online thesaurus for help at:

Thesaurus.com

When you’re trying to replace a weak adverb or some passive-voice with a stronger verb, but you can’t think of any? Thesaurus time! (I have to confess, I actually just keep this open on a tab when I’m writing OR editing.)
thesaurus.com

3. Do you need more accurate terms?

Sometimes, the history of a word can help you find a better term. Just look it up on:

Etymology is the study of language. So, this site tells me where the word came from, similar words in different languages, and words that were used for this term in the past.

So…

When you’re looking for a word that doesn’t sound so modern, so common…

Maybe you’re coming up with a name for a different type of magic?

Try looking up a root word related to the concept you’re attempting to convey and see if a historical version of the word will work. I’ve used this for magical methods, city names, and more.

etymonline.com

4 & 5. Do you want to have your prose analyzed?

After you’ve done what you can, it’s time to bring in the hired guns:

The Hemingway App and Grammarly

Confession? I’m cheap.

I use these tools for free, online. Which means, their use is a little more limited. They won’t analyze my entire manuscript, sometimes even a chapter is too long for them–maybe I need shorter chapters?

But, if I copy/paste a section at a time into the HemingwayApp website or into a new Grammarly document, they will both provide me with a rather comprehensive analysis of my writing. Hemmingway: checking for sentence complexity and word choice, Grammarly: checking, unsurprisingly, my grammar.

hemingwayApp

With both of these tools, they can only run their algorithms on your writing, they can’t judge its effectiveness, simply the way it adheres to the rules. Thus, some of the feedback should be ignored. But they do give you a good sense of what might make your sentences better. Plus, they make certain when you violate some grammar or writing guideline, you’re doing it on purpose.


With these 5 sites, you can be pretty sure by the time you’re done, that your polished draft is a clean copy, that is easy to read.

Just recognize they can’t actually make your story good,  you’ve got to do that on your own.

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