I had a question asked to me by +K. Nowinsky. I have been asking around on google+ if people have any questions about the writing world and if they do I can try and answer and do some research. Here questions and tools I have used that work for me.
What editing tools do you suggest?
First I just want to mention that no editing tool is going to be as effective as an editor. Machines can only pick up so much and help to a certain extent. A real human editor is the best way to go. However, I know that they cost a lot and personally, I couldn't afford it. I looked into some editing software when I was editing my book and found one that has really worked for me.
It is called AutoCrit, editing wizard. Of course nothing is free so let me explain the costs.
The way this tool works is, first you paste in your book or scene or chapters. Then you click the button, "analyze my text." It will take a couple of seconds for the machine to go through it all and bring out your report.
The first thing you'll see is overused words. For example, I put in my first chapter. It says I used that 44 times, then it says remove about 9 of them. It says I used can 9 times but that is okay. Underneath the report, it shows the text with the excess words highlighted.
Next is cliches and redundancies. You don't want to have too many of these in your work. In my work, it found more or less, head start, and melt down. These are all redundancies that are used in chapter one. It also found precisely as a redundancy. My advice is to try and limit them.
Next is repeated words and phrases and phrases summary after. They pretty much go together. The first shows you by highlighting which words are repeated throughout in green highlight. It shows you which phrases are repeated in blue. The phrases summary shows you the frequency they were repeated.
Next is phrasing. I really like this part. it's cool because it shows your text and highlights parts of the story that slow down. So whole passages will be green if it's back story. You don't want your book to be all fast paced so some green is good. In my first chapter, there are four paragraphs that are green. That's pretty good in my opinion.
Next you have dialog then pronouns then homonyms. These areas a pretty self explanatory. The dialog is listed. Then pronouns are underlined in your text. Homonyms are also underlined on their page in the text. This stuff is nice to know but I usually skip over it.
The coolest part is the readability tab. This area gives you scores according to various tests like New Dale, Smog and EFLAW score. It's cool because they give you the required reading level. Look up the tests because some are crazy. For example my New Dale Chall score I got a six which is about 7 or 8th grade. Then on my Smog score I got a 57 which translates to about 10th or 11th grade. They all look at different things.
Lastly there is the combined report. It combines, overused words, repeated words and repeated phrases and marks up your whole text. It's all red, green and blue. It's cool though because you can see what you have to take out and what not.
So what does this all mean?
Although you can never replace an editor, this software is really helpful if you are self editing. I find that it brings attention to things you would not notice when editing. It doesn't help with simple grammatical mistakes. For that I recommend beta readers or reading it yourself. It does help with the overall quality of your work. Try a free trial and see if it works for you!