I am doing NaNo this year. Sort of. I don’t intend to write 40,000 new words. I do intend to edit 40,000. In fact, I’d like to edit 100,000 words. I’ve been picking away at my first manuscript but haven’t been super dedicated so I haven’t gotten very far. I thought NaNo would be a month to re-focus on writing, but coming at it from the editing angle instead of the writing angle.
I found a post about improving your writing through various editing tools. This looks like a fun way to dig in, not really to edit the whole story, but maybe to highlight some common mistakes I make that I can’t see in my own writing. After the Deadline checks for spelling errors, misused words and common writing errors. AutoCrit focuses on pacing, momentum, dialogue, clichés, and filler words. CorrectEnglish looks at grammar and readability. EditMinion looks at frequently occurring words and sentence length.
Grammarly, obviously checks grammar. Hemingway App is described as “wildly popular” and looks at passive voice and adverbs, among other things. PaperRater looks like it is more for term papers, but might be fun to see how my writing stacks up. Of course, for this, I would only use the basic option which is free. ProWritingAid focuses on readability. SlickWrite looks at adverbs and passive voice. SmartEdit looks at, among other things, repeated phrases, which might be interesting to check in my writing. Lastly, Wordrake is designed for attorneys but is described as a tool to identify phrases that don’t move your story along.
In addition to (maybe) trying some of the above tools, I am going to do some traditional editing. The first thing I need to do is ditch the first chapter, which is really a prologue. When I first edited it a couple years ago, I was so committed to that scene because it set the whole story up. But now, I realize that it doesn’t need a whole scene. I’m thinking of using a recurring dream that brings in elements of it. I’m not usually a fan of using dreams because they don’t usually work for me in other people’s stories. But I have read some that I like, so I’m going to give it a shot.