In my post about editing your manuscript I mentioned that I use a grammar checker, ProWritingAid. This is a review on why and how I use it should you be considering use this or a similar tool.
Please note: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase ProWritingAid, or any of the other products, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Grammar checkers are a way to self-edit your book, but they do not replace the need for a professional editor. I have found that it has improved my writing and your manuscript will be in a whole lot better shape when it arrives at your editor or publisher.
ProWritingAid offers three versions of its software.
- A desktop version which works with Scrivener;
- A MS Word and Google Docs addon;
- Web based Chrome version which pops up whenever you write in a text field, which means it’s there for you in WordPress.
It is available for both Windows and Mac users and applicable to UK and US English.
Overview of the ProWritingAid software
Below is a summary of what the software provides and how a writer can get the best benefit from it.
The software offers a range of reporting options when you edit your work, as you can see from the top menu in the image. The image is of a first draft of a short story.
A convenient option is the Combo which allows you to group only those features you most commonly use when editing.
There is also a Summary report which summarizes all the suggested changes to your document or the portion of text you have highlighted. The image shows just the top level report, there is much more detail shown as you scroll down.
These are the features I most commonly use
Style. Highlights areas where your writing style may be improved, including passive and hidden verbs and a list of those pesky adverbs that you could remove. It also flags repetition.
Grammar. Your conventional grammar and spelling checker.
Readability. Suggests those paragraphs that are hard to read and could be rephrased and whether the overall document is easy to read.
Sticky sentences. Sentences that contain a high number of Glue words which are the 200 most used words in English.
All repeats. Checks your document for repeated words and phrases.
Others that I include are Pacing, Dialogue tags and Consistency. These are some of the 25 reports offered by the software.
Some Concerns with the software
It is a little overwhelming when you first use the software and takes a bit of getting used to as you work your way through all the reports. Find what you need and use most often and set them up in Combo.
The whole program is Cloud based and therefore cannot be used offline but considering what it provides that is, to a degree, understandable.
Also, a tad slow if you ask it to perform a scan of a very large document. I work scene by scene which usually means 2-3 thousands words at a time. You need to highlight what you want checked or it will go off checking the entire document.
The web-based version is helpful if you capture directly onto the Post page in WordPress but I find it a bit annoying when using it on other text capture applications like social media platforms, but it can be turned on and off as needed.
The Free version
You have free access to the web-based version which has 3 reports less than the Premium but its biggest drawback for me is you can only check 500 words at a time, which means constant copying and pasting of snippets of text.
Why I recommend it
It certainly has improved my writing in the 6 months I have been using it and the Word version is convenient and useful. I also use it with Scrivener, which has the added feature that the changes you make are saved directly into the Scrivener file that you are working on. But perhaps the greatest influence was pricing. PWA is, at the time of writing, the best overall value for money for the more reputable grammar checkers out there, so click on the image below and get an ever better price with the 20% DISCOUNT!
Give it a free trial by clicking on the image below and form your own opinion.