Saturday, August 17, 2013

My Top Two Writing Tools - Grammarly & Text to Speech

 *** I used Grammarly to grammar check this post because I knocked a jar of typo faeries over when I reached for my coffee.***

For me, one of the hardest parts of writing has always been proofreading. My eyes tend to see what they want to see instead of what's actually there. It's especially difficult with my own work because I know what I meant to say. In the three years since getting my first book published, I've come a long way in regards to learning how to proofread. There are two tools I find indispensable for this task, and today I'm going to talk a little about each one.


I stink at grammar. I know it's true and I thank the gods for the amazing editors I've worked with who have helped me polish up my novels. I still have a few issues, like overusing commas and the occasional run-on sentence. Since I can't turn to my editors every time I type a blog post, I've learned to use grammarly to double check my punctuation. This easy to use program finds up to ten times more mistakes than the average word processor. In addition to checking for basic errors, it even provides a safety check against possible plagiarism. All you have to do is cut and paste your text into the box and it will run a quick scan which will reveal all your grammar issues. My publisher originally turned me onto this program and I can't recommend it enough.

Text to Speech

I owe a huge thank you to Magaly from Pagan Culture for turning me on to text to speech. She beta-read a book for me and I was horrified at the amount of errors I missed. One perfect example was that I had ProCessor in lieu of ProFessor at least fifteen times. Six people had read the manuscript at that point and no one caught his embarrassing mistake. The human eye may not notice that one small letter, but when it's being read aloud, it's amazing how much easier a mistake can be caught.

 Through vs. Though  
 Except vs. Expect

You'll never miss these common errors again if you use this program. Another advantage it offers is that it picks up words that you've overused. In my most recent novel, I didn't realize until I listened to it that my characters "nodded" over a hundred times. But it stood out starkly when the automated voice was speaking. This gave me the chance to go back and change/eliminate some of them, making for a much cleaner manuscript.

If you want to give text to speech a try, it's simple to install and can be added  to most word documents. I'm not a computer expert, so I won't give instructions, but if you do a search for "text to speech" you should be able to find a way to install it on your computer.


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