- Books, Literature, and Writing»
- Commercial & Creative Writing
Grammar, Grammarly, Writing Software On The Go
Proof Reading by Hand (Eyes)
Writing an article or a short story, you are usually in for about five thousand words, maybe less. Usually proofreading is fairly easy at that length. When writing a Hub, there is always the benefit of breaking down what you are writing into digestible chunks that you can quickly read over and find any errors. The best solution when writing in these formats is to write, walk away, and come back to read and correct. Most of the time, when following that paradigm, you are able to catch typos, double words, misspellings, and simple grammar errors. When writing a novel, you already know you're in for at least forty thousand words or more.
When writing a novel, you already know you're in for at least forty thousand words or more. If you write in chapters, you can break down your story into relatively digestible chunks, almost. When I write, I write, I do not read. I don't have the time when writing a novel to read it as I am writing. That will come later when I start to rewrite. That is when I refine my storytelling into an art form creating something worth reading. Usually, I can get the story I am telling into the form I want it after the second rewrite, which is why I always do three rewrites before handing off the novel to my proof readers. It is a process that has always worked pretty well for me in the past.
Spell Checking and Grammar Software
I have used MS Word in the past, and today I use Open Office for my word processor. The spell check leaves a little bit to be desired, and grammar and punctuation are minimal at best. As for typos, they often go unnoticed. I have tried a couple of software packages to provide me a pair of digital eyes to look over my shoulder. Grammarly has provided me with the best digital watcher to date.
At times, it can be an irritant, because of the constant reminder that it has detected an error. It has taken me a while to overlook the constant reminder and continue typing until I at least get the thought out. I am working on writing a chapter at a time in open office and then I upload it to Grammarly and run it through the software. I have yet to establish a working relationship with it that I am completely happy with, but it is worth the effort.
This article is being written with Grammarly installed and I have come to terms with it running in the background as I type. I can ignore the swirling arrow as it analyzes what I have written, and as it identifies errors it sees, I can move on until I have completed a thought. However, I find working in Open Office without Grammarly in the background and later running what I have rewritten through Grammarly, as a separate step, the best way to make use of it.
Grammarly; a Second Set of Eyes
Grammarly advertises itself as a grammar checker, a spell checker, a corrector of the 250 most common grammatical mistakes, typo checker, and punctuation verifier. It has a free version and a for a fee version. I use the free version. While I have found the free version to be more than acceptable for my needs, I am sure the fee version is also most usable.
I use the free version, not so much for the advertised uses, though I do take advantage of what the free version offers, but, for the second set of most reliable eyes.
The best example I can offer of how impressive Grammarly performs is by sharing this example. I had written the first novel in the Jonas Watcher series, over a year ago. I had a half dozen people perform proofreading for me. After I got back all of their suggestions, I submitted the book to CreateSpace and I used the proofreader provided by CreateSpace and found a number of missed typo's, spelling errors, and double words. The CreateSpace proofreader allows one to zoom in on a page while checking it, and it is amazing how many more errors show up on an oversized page. I put forth the book to be published satisfied I had done all that I could to find errors.
When I read an article about Grammarly, I decided to test it against my book. Across the forty thousand plus word book, Grammarly found a number of errors. In a way, it was embarrassing. As I stepped through the analysis, I discovered that Grammarly and I disagree on preposition usage. Grammarly found a couple of double words, missed because of line splitting. It found spaces between quotes and the dialog between quotes. There were missed commas, both real and imaginary, Grammarly and I didn't always see eye to eye on whether a comma should be there or not. I write in first person in my detective series, and I do and will take liberties with grammar and punctuation. But overall Grammarly proved to be an excellent second set of eyes that I will rely upon in the future.
Don't think of Grammarly as just about grammar, but more as improving your own eyesight. It is free though I may one day purchase a subscription to use its other attributes.