I don’t have an editor…but I don’t need one.

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Have you ever wanted to say that? To be good enough at editing yourself that your work is almost press ready?

To be honest, very few of us are likely to get there but last night I stumbled upon a programme through an obscure list of comments in the back end of the internet.

This programme scans your work – yes, even whole novels – for repetition, clichés, repeated phrases, overused words, dialogue tags – even adverbs. As we’ve been told, adverbs are the bane of existence. For those that don’t know what they are, there’s a big list of  a few below.Image

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Then, if you double click on the offenders, it takes you to each places in the text they appear, just like ctrl+f. I believe you can save the data it finds. 

I think my favourite function is it watches overused words for you – even counts the amount of times they appear. It seems I use “down” “eyes” “nodded” and “smiled” far too often. I shall have to think of some new actions for agreement or for aversion of a subject. It’s kind of like the facebook app that analyses your posts and creates a picture of your most used words only more complex and on a larger scale. 

It’s free, too.

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Yes, Bart Simpson as well as, I’m sure, many big published authors have repeated some words many times in their novels. So what. You want to be better than them, right?

You want your book to be the best one yet, right?

I, for one, feel as if I’ve stumbled across the holy grail with this programme. I will no longer have to trawl through thousands of words and try to remember exactly what phrase I used earlier.

Of course, some phrases or clichés, words even, are stylistic choices that need to remain. Don’t let the machine control you – you are the one with a sentient brain!

With that little caveat out of the way – enjoy, and remember that it doesn’t edit for plot, character pitfalls or clunky phrasing. So you’re not completely get off the hook in terms of editing but it is, I believe, a big help.

Here it is: http://www.smart-edit.com/

*** I should also mention that the programme only works with RTF (rich text files) and .txt (notepad) files. I copied and pasted my novels into notepad and saved it before opening it in smart edit. I believe MS word also has a function to “save as” files as RTF.

Say thank you by following me on twitter, if you wish 🙂 https://twitter.com/Holly_emma_Ice

Or, even better, comment away beneath me with your disbelief/hatred for the programme.

For a bit of fun I’ve found another programme for you to look at too. It analyses sections of your writing and tells you which author you are most like. I’ve found the result changes between my blog writing and fiction so don’t take it as gospel!
http://iwl.me/

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  1. Spot on with this write-up, I really think this website wants far more consideration. I’ll probably be again to learn far more, thanks for that info.

  2. I love this! Thank you so much for the editing link. 🙂

    • No problem! Glad I could be of help. I found it just before I made the post and was blown away! It’s going to save me a lot of time the next time I finish a novel and get around to editing it.
      Perhaps it would be useful for you after nanowrimo to help with the less noticeable things? 🙂

      • It should be a big timesaver. I just downloaded it, so I’m ready. 🙂

      • Great! Just remember to convert writing files into rtf/notepad files before you open them in the programme. I’d save them under a different name, too, in case it changes the formatting too much. 🙂

      • Will do ~ thanks!

  3. Hey Holly, I will definitely try the programme that after analyzing my writing sample suggests which author’s writing is similar…. I am sure different pieces and different modes of writing lead to different results… which authors did you get? Good luck with all your writing projects….

    • The programme is certainly pretty fun. I tried it with a number of extracts to see whether it made any difference.
      With an extract from The Pen’s Catalyst blog post it gave me Stephen King.
      From an extract taken from Mummy, where’s the sky gone? it gave me Cory Doctorow.
      Then from a short story I’ve written it gave me chuck Palahniuk
      I then tested it on the short story that has been published. I tried two different sections of the story – one dialogue and one prose.
      I got Stephen King on dialogue and Chuck Palahniuk on the prose.
      I suppose having tested it a few more times, there seems to be some consistency!
      Using this programme as a guide it looks like I am mostly a mix of Stephen King and This Palahniuk guy.
      How about yourself? Did you get some interesting results?

      • Well I got a mix – I got Arthur Conan Doyle but that was a piece on Sherlock Holmes and I got Jane Austen but that was a piece on Jane Austen… I also got HP Lovecraft (whom Stephen King loved) and another writer that I forget right now….I just tried blog posts and didn’t try any other pieces…..I think it’s interesting that your prose and dialogue got different authors….

      • Nice mix 🙂 Shows you can emulate the authors well at least.
        I wasn’t too surprised: I write in a casual, persausive way in blogs. It’s similar to how I would write in essays only a lot less formal. There’s also no dialogue.
        In stories there is more description, longer sentence structures (in prose) and shorter ones in dialogue so I had a suspicion they would be different. Perhaps you should try it on fiction too?

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