Tool #5

I use five writing aids on a near-daily basis. Well, not counting laptops, books, the internet, so on and so forth. Now, why am I starting with the fifth one? Because it’s my most recent addition and I’m thrilled with it.

ProWritingAid is a paid (thus the “Pro” part; you don’t have to be a professional writer) tool available as a download or via a browser. They have a free option limited to checking ~1000 words at a time. So if you’re producing a short blurb, or wish to copy-and-paste a lot, it can be useful. I tried that before electing to shell out $50 for a year-long license.

This application checks so many things. Too various to list (I did, and it told me the sentence was low on the readability scale and, dang it, it was right). It also provides customizable settings, reports, and a summary page.

The summary shows a “document score”, with breakdowns for grammar, spelling, style, and terminology. To be honest, my first attempt showed a pitiful result. I wanted to smack the thing upside its bits and bytes. Though offended, I set my hubris aside, went into each area, looked at the suggestions, and revised, revised, revised. I ended with a higher value and a stronger piece. After a while, finding out how high I could push the ratings became a fun game.

Even at “100”, errors may exist and improvement is still possible. The sections focus on different skills; not all roll into the overall evaluation. Be clear within yourself on the intent of your work, know when to ignore the advice, and understand the program won’t catch everything. Supplement with another human’s sanity check, but remember: humans miss stuff too. Exploit the tool, yes, but you decide what voice you want, how formal/informal you need to be, and so on, and whether you achieved it.

Tools make life easier, they don’t replace knowing your craft, and this one’s effective when leveraged in your favor.

Ah, jeez, discussing tools and using “leveraged” brings to mind, partially, a joke about a guy named Nate and a lever. I can’t quite tease the full set up out of the cobwebs, but the punch line: Better Nate than lever. {lol}

Written by Ordinary Dreams

Becca loves (in no particular order, ok, the husband comes first, probably) triking, Jeeping, her Spinone, her husband, and his Whinerarner (and we both greatly miss his sooper-dooper cutie-patootie of a mutt, Mia Mutt, and her Labradorable, Sophie). The universe presented an opportunity on a platter and, not being one to deny the universe, she took the chance to chase a dream by transforming from accidental geek to intentional writer. Though life now leads back to the cube world she plans to put even that experience to good use in her writing. {muauuahhhahhhahhh}

Now time for the shameless plugs. Please see also her site with her husband about their motorcycle (and some Jeeping) travels, Chasing Blue Sky, her site as a Real Estate Broker in Colorado, SpinOne Group, her site as a Notary Public and Notary Signing Agent in Colorado, and/or the Facebook pages for Lu C. FurL.C., and  Mia Mutt (Sophie was pre-this-sort-of-thing), and Pigasus Studio.