I am so excited to bring you this resource!
You may have noticed that a ProWritingAid ad has been placed on my blog posts, and if you’ve wondered why it’s because I believe in their ability to help every writer at every skill level. I have been a faithful ProWritingAid user for over two years now, and I will remain so as long as I have stories in me I want to share.
Cost: The free version allows you to edit 1000 words at a time, only online. (great for blog posts or emails) The paid version allows you to edit unlimited words with their website or right inside your Word document, Scrivener document, in Mac, or in Google Docs. What about the paid plans? See below:
While this is the priciest resource you’ll find in this series, it is for good reason. This program is amazing. You’ll hear that a lot throughout this post, I’m sure.
Pros: This will not only show you things that need to be fixed, it will teach you why, and in turn it will make you a better writer. The support is amazing, and they endeavor to provide you with amazing content outside the editor.
Cons: If you’re using the plug-in for Word (which is how I use it) and the program feels you’re analyzing too many words at one time, it will let you know. If you get this prompt and you choose to analyze the large document any way, be warned it might take a while to analyze, and on occasion it has crashed Word on my computer, but this has only happened once or twice and I have never lost any work because of it. If you edit in smaller chunks, which I recommend anyway, this becomes a non-issue, negating the only con I can find.
Ease of Use: ProWritingAid is freaking powerful. There are a lot of things you can do with it, therefore there is a lot of things to learn. Once you have spent some time with it, it is super simple and the interface is user-friendly.
How’d I Find It, Anyhow?
Sometimes I cannot remember how I came across a certain resource. Sometimes it’s a tweet. Sometimes it’s a YouTube ad. Sometimes I just get lucky. But I know exactly how I came across PWA, and it was no accident. See, there is another program out there which claims to help you with your grammar. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
I used to use this program. I hated this program. So I searched for something better, and boy, did I find it.
If you want to try it before you buy it—which I recommend in all things when possible—the online editor is a great place to start. First thing is:
Click “Editing Tool.” That will you bring you to this screen:
Copy and paste into the document area what you want to edit. If you’re using the free version, remember it will only edit 1000 words at a time. (Again, that’s usually good for a blog post or email.
You’ll choose what report you want to run (or you can run multiple at a time) and then sit back and watch as they make glorious suggestions! Of course, as the writer, you have final say. For instance, PWA will flag a lot of grammar issues in Alabama Rain because I use incorrect grammar for several of my characters’ dialogue. Obviously the program isn’t going to make the distinction and it is up to me to decide what to keep and fix.
About Those Reports…
This would be an incredibly long blog post if I give you information about all twenty-three of those reports, so I’m going to choose my five favorite.
Overused Words | We all have words we fall back on. When I wrote the first draft of Sex, Love, and Technicalities, I thought this report was going to make me cry. I plugged in the first chapter of Alabama Rain to show you what these reports look like. This is unedited, absolutely raw work—ought to be fun. 😉
This is actually much better than I expected, and much, much better than my first pass with Sex, Love, and Technicalities. Why? Because using ProWritingAid helped shine a light on what I needed to improve upon.
What I won’t show you (for reasons) is how it highlights all of these instances in the document so you can find them easily and decide what, if anything, you want to fix.
Grammar Report | Remember how I said the grammar report would go a bit crazy for Alabama Rain? Yeah, this didn’t surprise me, and as such, I’m not going to fret about a large portion of this report. That said, I’ll still go over it with a fine-toothed comb.
For the sake of this post, I did go through a few of the issues it presented me and I found something I hadn’t done on purpose, therefore will change it. I’ll show you what that looks like:
It’s like having a grammar teacher at my disposal. I love it.
Consistency Report | Traveling. Travelling. Canceling. Cancelling. There are a lot of words that are nearly identical, but not quite in American-English vs. British-English.
Those instances are extremely difficult to catch as you’re reading through because it is rare for your word processor to mark them for you. With this report, you’ll see each and every one. Miss a quotation mark? This’ll find it. It finds all those little inconsistencies.
What about my red flags?
It flagged them, but they’re used in different ways, therefore not an actual issue. Don’t be put off by this. It’s still worthwhile to check all inconsistencies.
Pacing | This report is important and I run it with every project. It is, though, highly subjective. It doesn’t even mark slow paragraphs as an issue because they aren’t technically an issue unless they’re back to back or filled with sticky sentences. (Another report that will absolutely force you to grow as a writer. Believe me.)
It highlights the paragraphs it finds slower so you can see how they’re spaced in your manuscript. In my case, I might try to “fix” two of them, but the others I am fine with.
Dialogue Report | This report helps me keep track of the dialogue tags I use, and how much dialogue I’m including in a given chapter.
I prefer using say/said or ask/asked, so that’s all you see here. But in other chapters I know I’ll see a whispered peppered in. In the 40k+ words I’ve written so far, there’s one shout and I’ve decided to keep it.
If you’re a writer who is trying to break yourself of using telling dialogue tags, this is indispensable.
And that’s just FIVE reports.
I am a Microsoft Word user. I tried to get into Scrivener, but it just didn’t work out the way I’d hoped it would for me.
Never fear, if you’re a Scrivener user, ProWritingAid has you covered.
But, I do use it directly in my Word document, so I’ll show you what that looks like:
This little menu lives at the top right-hand corner of Word. Notice how it says “Creative” there? That’s because that’s the style it’s assigned to my writing. (Cue awww) This affects the way ProWritingAid analyzes my work. You can change this, depending on what you’re writing.
Other than that, the reports perform just the same as they do if you use the online editor (with the added benefit that I can edit more than 1000 words at a time and because I can work right inside my Word document instead of copying and pasting.)
Do you love word clouds?
ProWritingAid gives you all kinds of options if word clouds are your thing. All kinds of ways to style it. Just for fun, I’ll post one for Alabama Rain…but not the first chapter. Let’s go with Chapter Nineteen. I don’t know why. Just because.
Beyond the editor, ProWritingAid has an amazing blog. They post writing prompts. Confused about a report? They explain them in detail. They’re excellent teachers. They’re active on social media and prop up indie authors like me all the time. There is so much to love, that I am sure I will have to publish more than one blog post about them this year.
If I still haven’t convinced you how much I love them, then listen up.
I’m giving away a FULL ONE-YEAR SUBSCRIPTION to ProWritingAid! Also, I’m giving away a $15 gift card to Amazon for you to use anyway you wish! Want to enter? Of course you do. Click the Rafflecopter below.
The giveaway is open until May 12th—with an option to enter every single day to increase your odds.
May the luck be with you, scribes.
Don’t want to wait to try out ProWritingAid? I really don’t blame you. You can use the following link to sign up for a free two-week trial!
That’s all I have for you today, friends. I wish you happy writing, happy reading, and the best of luck!