Can You Trust Editing Software?

Short answer, no. Long answer, not exactly.

Editing software has made incredible advances over the past few years. Where once, Word was the only editing software on the market, we have now seen numerous programs such as Grammarly, WritingAid etc all make their presence known. This has allowed writers to identify so many little typos which might slip unnoticed if not for the robotic eye.

But, can you trust them?

While these programs are definitely recommended, they are not 100% perfect. Sometimes, the program will introduce the wrong phrase or grammar structure. Sometimes, it won’t understand slang. Sometimes, in dialogue especially, broken grammar was the writer’s intention, but the cold heart of these programs aren’t there to understand this. And thus, some of the character’s style of speaking can be lost.

I would recommend using Grammarly or at least Word before passing off your document to an editor. Use a text-to-speech program, but above all else, you need a human eye on your manuscript. Yes, I’m aware this sounds like a selfless plug, but hear me out on this.

A trained editor will know how to catch these issues. Editing software may work well in line editing and proofreading, but it cannot do content or developmental editing. It cannot determine what is intentional inside dialogue and what is an actual typo. A trained editor will also know the differences between Amercian and British English, for example. Most of these programs will only use American English, and thus, if you’re outside the States, this can muddle up your writing style. Granted, there are some macros you can install into Word to help with this, but I plan on covering these in a future blog post which I will link once it’s live.

In short, I would recommend using these programs to catch typos which have slipped in but to use them with a critical eye. They are well worth it, but you need to review each change before accepting or else you risk just introducing more errors into your work. For those on a budget, check out the free version of Grammarly and also Editminion to get started. Use a text-to-speech program to catch those little awkward word choices or structures. And lastly, be sure to get another set of eyes on your work. We’re all human after all and our brains just love filling in the blanks rather than reading each word one by one.

So, use editing software, get your novel as clean as possible, and then contact your editor. They will thank you for it, and plus, it will cost you a lot less money in the long run and save your editor a lot of pain!

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