Writing dissertations had been a game for me. I found it interesting to put my ideas in the correct order to impress my teachers. I even got great marks with the hardest English teacher at my secondary school. When I went to university, it became harder though. And when I started writing fiction more seriously, I realised it was actually complicated to think clearly about everything.
Maybe you’re wondering the same thing: how can you structure your novel properly? How can you check if your story is easy to read? Or how can you edit your spelling and grammar by yourself?
Ah, the joy of editing.
Well, I have three tools for you:
Forget about Word or Pages: Scrivener is way better.
Scrivener is a software for authors which works pretty well for me. You can create files within your file, for each chapter and each scene. Outlining has never been so easy, and you can store pictures, videos and texts you might need in the same place for inspiration. You can also use available sample sheets to note the characteristics of your world and characters.
Scrivener can be complicated to use, though. You might end up researching how it works before actually getting anything from it. But it’s worth it (even for screenplays). If you’ve ever considered self-publishing, Scrivener will compile your story into different useful formats: ePub, Mobi, PDF, doc, etc.
You’ll find the app on Literature & Latte‘s website for £39 ($45 USD), available for Mac and Windows. And if you’ve participated in NaNoWriMo, you should have received a discount code 😉
Don’t get me wrong: hiring a professional proofreader is still a must for your book. But Grammarly can help you a great deal if you don’t have the budget for it.
It can be plugged in your internet browser, your Word, and even your desktop. With Grammarly, you can considerably improve your grammar and spelling. The app checks everything, from the biggest to the tiniest mistake. Easy to use, you just upload your document and it will highlight the sentences you need to revise. You can even set up the app for American or British English, isn’t it great?
Head over to Grammarly.com. There’s a free version, which checks the common mistakes, and a paid one (up to $140 USD), to get deeper into your editing process. I’d recommend getting the paid one if you’re serious about writing books, for a complete service.
The Hemingway App
You’ve probably read this advice a thousand times: avoid passive voice and limit the use of adverbs. However, it can be complicated to find where they’re hiding, especially when you have your nose in the story for a long time.
I’m sure you know the author Ernest Hemingway, don’t you? He had a particular way of writing sentences: short, even very short. The writer inspired a very useful little app to simplify your writing. It shows your “hard to read” and “very hard to read” sentences, your passive voices and adverbs. It also marks your text according to its readability. It’s convenient when you don’t want it to be painful to read for your audience.
And, hey, this app is free! You’ll find it on hemingwayapp.com, don’t hesitate to use it.
Here they are: three tools to improve your writing. I hope they’ll help you as much as they help me. My writing became smoother, with less mistakes and weird sentences (can be useful for a French native speaker 😉 ).
Any tool you’d recommend to improve your writing? Have you ever used these?
Feel free to tweet me @vdvestelle