Confession #1489385 (probably closer to 12): I HATE editing. It can be a daunting and intimidating task, especially if you’re editing something big like a novel. Ripping apart a hundred or more pages of prose can be frustrating and time consuming. It also forces you to deal with those unruly plot holes and shitty sentences you’ve been avoiding.
Despite my disdain for editing, I know it’s a necessary evil. In order for readers to take you seriously, you have to present them with a polished product. However, polishing your writing through editing can be easier said than done. At times, we can be too critical of ourselves. We may cut, change or add to things that were perfect the way they were. On the flip side, we can be too lenient with ourselves thinking that everything we’ve written is gold. Sometimes we get too close to the project or don’t know what the hell we need to do to improve it.
That’s where editing software comes in! Just like a real editor, editing software can help identify issues with syntax, grammar, spelling and the overall readability of our writing. Editing software can be a great help, especially if you don’t have access to a real one.
As some of you may recall, I mentioned using Pro Writing Aid to help me edit Madness. I love the website and think it’s a very useful tool, but recently a writer I follow on Twitter, Rachel Thompson, posted a link to an article about a new app called Hemingway. Just like Pro Writing Aid, Hemingway examines writing and grades it on a scale. I decided to put both editing tools to the test and see which was the better.
To test both programs I used a short story I wrote called Collared, which can be found here.
Hemingway is really easy to use. Erase the text inputted on the screen and replace it with your own. You even have the option to write new text and have it graded.
I copied and pasted the story and within a few minutes, I got the results. The app graded my story a 3 which is good. It identified 13 adverbs, suggesting I aim for 9 or fewer. It also identified 9 uses of passive voice, but I figure that’s okay considering the app suggests aiming for 50 or fewer.
Simply put, Hemingway is easy to use and understand. It hits all the main issues writers, professional and amateur, have with their work. The app suggests you aim for a score of Grade 10 or below for bold and clear writing.
Pro Writing Aid
Just like Hemingway, you can copy and paste the text you want analyzed. You also have the option to the import the text if it is a Word document or Rich Text. Unfortunately, because I inserted more than 1000 words as a non-member, I received an alert telling me that I needed to either sign up for membership or input fewer words. I’m already a member so all I had to do was log in and it allowed me to have the whole text analyzed at once. Membership is free and if you do decide to use this app I would suggest it.
Pro Writing Aid provides you with a really thorough report. It alerts you of overused words, clichés and redundancies, grammar, diction, sticky sentences, writing style, sentence length and so much more. This can be overwhelming at first, but once you click through each problem area, it breaks it down for you and offers suggestions.
It used to offer the ability to save your work as well, but it looks like those free memberships don’t have that option anymore.
Which is better?
Truthfully, I like both. Although Hemingway isn’t nearly as thorough as Pro Writing Aid, it hits the most common areas of concern for writers. You also don’t need a membership to input more than 1000 words. As mentioned earlier, Pro Writing Aid is extremely thorough, but it can be a little overwhelming at first and kind of coaxes you into getting a membership.
If you want something simple that hits all the common areas of concern, use Hemingway. If you want something that examines your writing with a fine tooth comb, use Pro Writing Aid.
My suggestion is to use Hemingway to fix those trouble spots and gauge how clear your writing is. If you want a more thorough check after that, input your work into Pro Writing Aid and fix those trouble spots. When you finish you can head back over to Hemingway and make sure it’s still easy to read.
What do you guys think? Do you like Hemingway or Pro Writing Aid better? Let me know in the comments below!