• Angela Giacobbo

Tidy your Writing with Editing Software

By Angela Giacobba


If you’re interested in writing pieces for publication but are nervous about submitting something that needs a little cleaning up, you might want to check out some book editing software. Of course, nothing edits better than a trained human eye, but you don’t need to lose hope if that isn’t an option for you!


Grammarly

Picture of Grammarly logo: a “G” inside a green circle
Photo courtesy of grammarly.com


Many students have heard of Grammarly—either through school or those relentless YouTube ads. Grammarly works to streamline writing with suggestions to improve clarity, reduce repetition, check spelling, and evaluate punctuation and grammar.

Grammarly has different plans:

  • Free—basic suggestions (spelling, grammar, and punctuation)

  • Premium (starting at $12/month)—style and clarity edits (plagiarism detection, conciseness, word choice, etc.)

  • Business (starting at $12.50/member/month)—produces professional and clear writing (style guide, brand tones, analytics dashboard, etc.)

Sometimes, the suggestions aren’t the best choice depending on your content. Sentence fragments and repetition for effect will be marked as errors, so don’t let the underlining discourage you, and make sure to think through the edits.


ProWritingAid

Picture of ProWritingAid logo: three blank pages frozen mid-flip inside of a blue square
Photo courtesy of prowritingaid.com

ProWritingAid is a manuscript editing software offering quick suggestions to improve writing. Depending on what you’re writing, you may be stuck between Grammarly or ProWritingAid, but both have their strengths. ProWritingAid offers various reports to improve sentence length variation, passive voice, and wording.


ProWritingAid has standard editing software with varying payment options:

  • $20 monthly subscription

  • $79 yearly subscription

  • $399 lifetime subscription

There’s a free version of ProWritingAid as well, so you don’t need to jump into a purchase without checking if this software works for your project. The free version has a 500-word review limit, but if you are writing a flash piece, double-checking the grammar in a sentence, or trialing the program, this may be a solid option.


AutoCrit


Picture of AutoCrit logo: a pen tip with a red background to the left and “AutoCrit” written to the right in a blue rectangle
Photo courtesy of autocrit.com

If you’re a writer looking for editing software, AutoCrit was made for you. Created by an unpublished writer longing to be an author, AutoCrit provides writers with unbiased feedback in over 20 areas of fiction. AutoCrit analyzes current publishing trends to enhance your work. Their goal is to “empower writers with the knowledge and tools to polish their manuscripts, improve their writing skills, and succeed as authors” (quote source).


AutoCrit offers three plans:

  • Free Forever—spelling and grammar checker, editing guidance based on publishing standards, online storage for your manuscript, and editing tools including Adverbs, Repetition, and Readability

  • Professional ($30/month)—30+ interactive reports, access to the AutoCrit Member Community network, editing suggestions for clarity and strength regarding pacing, guidance by genre, and more

  • Annual Professional ($297/year)—Access to the Eliminating Repetition and How to Write Better Dialogue courses


Scrivener

Picture of Scrivener logo: an S in a box with the word “Scrivener” to the right
Photo courtesy of literatureandlatte.com/scrivener/

Scrivener is a hub for all kinds of writing: fiction, nonfiction, academic, legal, and more. If you’re still in the early stages of your writing, Scrivener is a great place to start. This software allows you to easily move ideas around within your manuscript by creating individual sections.


If you like structure and want an online tool to plan out your piece, Scrivener’s corkboard—like physical corkboards—allows you to mark down ideas for reference and switch them around as your work develops. If distractions often pull you away from your writing, use the full-screen writing mode that hides everything on your screen except your words. Scrivener provides countless features centered on organization and fighting procrastination.


Scrivener can be downloaded for macOS, Windows, and iOS:

  • Standard License ($67)

  • Educational License ($56.95)


 

Purchasing a license means you gain access to free updates for the specific version of the software you bought, and you aren’t tied to a subscription. There’s also a free trial, so you can get a taste of the program before you decide to open your wallet.


However, editing software isn’t always the best option. The human eye can catch things a computer may not understand, and sometimes editing software doesn’t fit the budget. Both Google Docs and Microsoft Word offer editing options for peer-reviewing.


Editing peer pieces for free


How to edit on Google Docs

  • Open your Google Doc

  • Select the pencil icon in the top right corner of the screen titled “Editing mode”

  • Select “Suggesting”


Picture of a blank document iin Google docs with the editing option selected

Picture of a Google doc with a sample sentence that reads "this is a sentence"

How to edit on Microsoft Word

  • Open the Word Doc

  • Select the “Review” section along the top ribbon

  • Select “Track Changes”

  • You can choose to select “For Everyone” which makes all who use the document editors unless they deselect it

  • You can choose to select “Just Mine” which makes all of your changes into suggestions without altering the access of others

  • You can choose to select “Lock Tracking” which prevents the author from turning off suggestions unless they have a password


Picture of a blank Microsoft word document with the track changes option selected

Picture of a Microsoft Word document with a sample sentence that reads "this is a sentence"

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