Writing Tools – AutoCrit

Ah, AutoCrit – I have a love-hate relationship with you! No, not hate, maybe frustration at all of the possible ways you present to me that I may improve my manuscript. But that is also why I love you – and love wins out with you.AutoCrit

I need to issue a warning – AutoCrit will provide the writer with a tsunami of information. Everything from repeated words to verb tense to passivity (is that even a word?) to too many adverbs for the genre, AutoCrit is a very powerful diagnostic tool for the fiction author. And therein is one of its limitations – it is structured for fiction, not non-fiction. No, not limitation, feature – AutiCrit does not pretend to be something it isn’t.

AutoCrit examines a manuscript against industry averages to determine alerts on too many adverbs, sentence length and variation, and other variables. Is it perfect? I suspect not. But it does provide many paths the author ma choose to investigate.

That’s the key – “may choose to investigate.” Don’t choose them all, there’s simply too much information, else the writer will spend more time fine-tuning the manuscript to satisfy AutoCrit and not the readers. Never forget the readers are the primary concern.

I often say that AutoCrit has helped me become a better writer. I tend to use less adverbs and therefore produce tighter works. I also have shaken most of my passive bad habits. Not all, but I also catch them often before running an AutiCrit analysis.Adverbs, passive

AutoCrit won’t help with a bad story line – it’s not a developmental editor. Nor will it point out Point of View (POV) issues. You’ll have to diagnose and correct plot deficiencies and head-hopping yourself, or go the preferred route, hire developmental and copy editors. I did just that and learned much more, especially from the developmental edit process, but that shall be a post for another day.

Bottom line – I love AutoCrit. I have no interest beyond promoting a good product.

Screenshot from AutoCrit https://www.autocrit.com/

Scrivener, A Writing Tool

Often I listen to podcasts when I work out. It’s a great use of time, be it while out on the trails jogging or in the gym lifting. Recently I listened to an episode of Dave Chesson’s Book Marketing Show podcast about writing tools. He mentioned the writing tool Scrivener. I had never heard of this software, but then again, I had not performed much research on writing tools.scriviner screenshot

His description of the software intrigued me as I rested between sets on the chest fly machine. I have always used Word for writing, and it has served me well, but it is not designed to create lengthy manuscripts. For example, scene reordering or moving to another chapter is common. There is no easy method beyond cut and paste to do that in Word.

Based on the podcast, I downloaded a trial version of Scrivener after I returned home. They offer a true thirty day test period – use it two days a week and it will last 15 weeks, as stated on their website. That in itself is encouraging, as I have often downloaded test software with good intentions, then life happens, and upon return to test the period is over. No such risk here.

I installed Scrivener and imported my two WIPs into the same project since the first is a short prologue for the novel. I’ll eventually want to separate when it comes time to export (that combines all separate parts, chapters, and scenes into one document) but for character development and tracking, having all together for development makes sense.

I won’t go over some of the features of Scrivener that writers of longer works find useful, as I encourage you to listen to the podcast mentioned above for that information. However, I will plan to periodically provide updates here my impressions and experiences with the software. From my early experience (about an hour), I am convinced that there is value to go further with the trial.

One last point, it’s not expensive. I believe the cost is $45, but the podcast episode page has a code for 20% off.