Now that NaNoWriMo is over and you've taken a well-deserved break, it's time to edit.
Most stories go through two types of edits: developmental editing and copy editing. Developmental editing is tricky to do alone, but copy editing your own manuscript is definitely achievable—especially with the help of ProWritingAid.
ProWritingAid's Hayley Milliman teamed up with lovely folks over at Campfire to show you how five ProWritingAid reports can help you transform your writing through self-editing. Catch the video above, and keep reading for more editing tips below.
Many writers will construct sentences that are grammatically correct, but that are clunky or difficult to read. That's where ProWritingAid's Style Report comes in. The Style Report looks for areas of your writing where you could improve the clarity of your writing. You'll see suggestions for:
- Passive Voice
- Readability Improvements
- Hidden Verbs
- Overuse of Adverbs
- Emotional Tells
Avoiding Emotional Tells
We often use placeholder words like excited, scared, smiled and sad to tell our readers (and future editing selves) how our characters feel. ProWritingAid highlights these emotional tells in your writing so you can replace them with more meaningful descriptions:
Rewrite your emotional tells to bring your reader closer to the action.
Sentences have two types of words: glue words and working words. Working words contain a sentence's most essential information; your subject, object, and main verb. Glue words make those working words stick together. These are your prepositions and conjunctions. They make your working words make sense, but you could move them around or change them completely and your sentence's meaning wouldn't change.
ProWritingAid's Sticky Sentences report highlights sentences in your manuscript with a high proportion of glue words. It will show you which words are glue words so you can check that each word contributes to your meaning.
Making a few quick changes can make your sentence easier to read.
Did you know that the average fiction reader likes to read at a seventh-grade level?
This doesn't mean dumbing down your ideas. Instead, think about whether you're telling your story using simple, accessible language that your reader doesn't have to fight to understand.
When you've been staring at your manuscript for 30 days, it's easy to lose touch with how it'll come across to a first-time reader. ProWritingAid's Readability Report will help you spot passages that the average reader may find tricky to read.
There are many metrics to measure readability. We take an average of your score across several systems to give you a report that is clear, visual, and actionable.
You get an overview of how your document shapes up for Readability in the Summary Report. Then, you can run the Readability Report to work paragraph by paragraph. You'll see a menu to the left summarising your document, as well as red, yellow and green highlights for each paragraph, helping you to spot where to focus first.
Once you've seen how readable your document is, the Style and Sticky Sentences reports are good places to start improving readability.
There are words and phrases in the English language that indicate poor writing style.
Intensifiers like very weaken your writing, and hesitant words like just or maybe make you sound unconvincing. Words like these are fine in moderation, but when overused they can undermine your ideas.
ProWritingAid's Overused Words Check flags problematic words and phrases commonly overused by writers and helps you to eliminate them. As you work through them, you will be begin to recognize and avoid using them in the first place.
Fix complicated writing by analyzing your word choices and sentence structures with the Diction Report. By choosing simpler phrases sentence structures, you're prioritizing your ideas over a need for complicated or "impressive" language.
This will create a richer experience for your readers because they will be able to picture and connect with your characters, scenes, and settings without the barrier of unnecessarily fancy language.
The Diction Report will also highlight vague and abstract words. Is your protagonist "tall," or is she "six foot one?" Leave no room for confusion by tightening up your language and descriptions.
If you're dreading self-editing your NaNoWriMo manuscript, ProWritingAid can help take the pressure off. With over 20 reports coving every aspect of writing from dialogue to transitions to structure, ProWritingAid will help you plan your editing process and start editing like a pro.
Find out more about how ProWritingAid works in our ultimate guide to ProWritingAid.
If NaNoWriMo was just the start of your writing journey, why not give Campfire's writing software a try? It'll help you plot timelines, build character bibles, create an encyclopedia for your world and so much more. Find out more about how Campfire transforms the writing process.