My editing experience in a nutshell. Image by Kate via Canva 2022
Since the end of December, I’ve been working on my novel’s edits with the goal of querying in February. The past two weeksI sent each chapter (all 104 of them!) through ProWritingAid. (This isn’t sponsored, but imagine how much more enthusiasm I’d show if it was?) It was a grueling process, mostly because ProWritingAid takes time to load between each button, and each button reveals information to read and analyze.
The logo of ProWritingAid. I've had it for several years now and have no regrets about paying the lifetime fee.
The buttons I used most were style, grammar, overused, sentence length, pronouns, and consistency. Based on the feedback ProWritingAid sent me, I accepted 675 suggestions from the software in the last two weeks. Lordy. Grammar improvements took the forefront with 493 suggestions, and 182 suggestions were style improvements, like removing passive voice and overused words.
This is the tool bar of ProWritingAid. Pronouns, consistency, and other choices are under more reports.
My most overused words (that I culled) were: had/have, could, know/knew, think/thought, and was/were. According to the software, I only overused “just” in two chapters! That’s a huge improvement from my last WIP. I also reworked many sentences to cut down on how many pronouns began sentences. Luckily, I didn’t have many consistency issues or repeated sentence starts. My biggest issue in grammar was comma placement. I’m not surprised.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t blindly accept every suggestion. In fact, I rejected most of them. Incorrect assessments of commas, incorrect assumptions about word choice and spelling, and incorrect identification of passive voice were common suggestions I ignored. This is the other part of why this took so long! If I blindly accepted across the board, my story would be a mess.
The last leg of my editing journey is a final read-through. I’m not letting myself edit anything unless I’m removing words or fixing typos. I’ve gotten it down significantly from where I started, but I’d still love to lose another 4k. We’ll see if that happens.
Have you used editing software in the past? What have you noticed are your editing patterns? Let’s chat in the comments!