Writing Wednesday: AutoCrit Editing Wizard

Every writer has to edit what they write, to bring it up to standard and knock it into a shape to be acceptable to agents, publishers and readers. But it’s very hard to spot errors in your own work, and hard to find someone else to do it for free, who is good at it. Enter AutoCrit: 

AutoCrit is developed by writer and computational linguist Nina Davies, who needed AutoCrit to improve her own writing. 

Yes, like every other writer, Nina’s first drafts sometimes suck. She overuses adverbs, repeats words, has sections of passive writing, too much introspection, etc, etc. Any writing mistake you can imagine, Nina has found in her early drafts. 

As writers know, it is difficult to see these mistakes in your own manuscript. So Nina used her background as a computational linguist (someone who works to make computers understand human languages) to develop the AutoCrit Editing Wizard. 

The wizard automatically finds 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 (coming fresh to your work, they’ll see every error!). 

AutoCritThe Wizard is free to use, with limitations, and reasonably priced for full facilities. The free version allows 3 submissions a day of up to 400 words each. It checks your text and reports on 3 topics: overused words, sentence variation, and cliches & redundancies. 

Gold membership, at $47 a year (about £29), allows unlimited submissions of 1,000 words each and access to all 11 reports, including pacing, dialogue, and readability. Platinum and Professional memberships offer higher word limits and extra options such as emailing text for backup and offline reports. 

Even with the limitations, I have found the free version extremely useful. My biggest problems are the use of ‘that’ and writing in passive voice, which actually go together quite often. Even where it points out things which are not in fact wrong, at least it has been brought to your attention. You may decide that you want to rephrase it anyway. 

Even if you’re going to pay for editing, I would recommend you use AutoCrit first. The less work the editor has to do, the less you will have to pay. If loading 400 words at a time would take for ever, the cost of the Professional membership, at $117 a year (about £73), is small compared to an editor’s fees and will allow you to submit 100,000 words in one go. 

While the Wizard is awesome and unique, Nina wanted to offer more to the writing community. For that reason, she developed the Writing Advice Center, a FREE resource of articles on all aspects of writing fiction, written by published authors and subject matter experts. There are hundreds of articles, with more added every month or so. 

The Writing Advice Center, now called the Writer’s Library, has articles helpfully grouped under categories, under the three headings of The Business of Writing, The Craft of Writing, and The Writer’s Soul.

All told, a very useful site and one I highly recommend.

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About Ann Marie Thomas

Married since 1974, Christian since 1986, 4 children, 4 grand children, disabled with fibromyalgia but was working almost full time until a stroke in May 2010 changed my life completely. Writing poetry and making up stories since I was a child, I only started to write seriously when my children were grown. My main ambition is to write science fiction, but along the way I got distracted by local history and poetry about my stroke. Taking early retirement gave me the chance to concentrate on my writing. My book, Alina, The White Lady of Oystermouth, was published in print and ebook at Easter 2012. The success of Alina led to the publication of Broken Reed: The Lords of Gower and King John in September 2013, and The Magna Carta Story at Easter 2015. I am still writing science fiction - a series of novels called Flight of the Kestrel. For all my author news, see me author blog at www.annmariethomas.me.uk
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