Summary Report: The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

by Nov 21, 2016, 6 Comments

We have just released the new (and much improved) ProWritingAid editing tool and we wanted to tell you a bit more about one new feature that we are particularly excited about.

Summary Report: What is it?

A Summary Report is an all-in-one look at the statistics in your writing. Not just the basics like word count, sentences, and paragraphs, but it also points out the key actions you need to take to strengthen your writing.

I decided to run this month’s PWA newsletter article, How to Foreshadow Like Alfred Hitchcock through the Summary Report, and this screenshot shows the results:

Notice I should work to decrease my high glue index. Too many filler words. Yikes!

But that’s not all. It gives you a summary of each report in PWA and its applicable stats. For example, the Summary Report analyzes your vocabulary and shows you how many unique words you’ve used and how many word families. It also identifies the most unusual words you’ve used, and how readable your writing is based on several online readability tests.

What’s included in the Summary Report?

The Summary Report looks at:

  • Readability Scores
  • Overused Words
  • Sentence Structure
  • Sentence Length
  • Writing Style
  • Grammar & Spelling
  • (dreaded) Sticky Sentences
  • Dialogue
  • Pacing
  • Transitions
  • Repeated Phrases
  • Clichés & Redundancies
  • Consistency
  • Diction
  • Vague & Abstract Words
  • Corporate Wording

Each report is set apart by a bold, colored line, and shows you the statistics you need to analyze to strengthen your writing. Here’s a screenshot of the Sentence Structure summary and the start of the Sentence Length summary.

Notice in this screenshot that I received a thumbs-up in sentence variety and sentence length, but a thumbs-down in long sentences. Something else I need to work on.

Each summary section shows the statistics particular to that report, whether it’s a percentage that your work was below or above, or even a graph to show you the variety of your sentence lengths.

One of the most powerful sections in the Summary Report is the Readability Measures. You want your writing to be easy for readers to understand, and this report uses 4 distinct tools that measure the words per sentence and syllables per word to calculate your score. You can see from the screenshot below that I’m just above the target:

One very interesting feature shows you, for 6 different stats, how your writing in each category compares to others on ProWritingAid. Since sticky sentences are my obvious downfall, here’s a screenshot of how my work stacked up against other PWA users:

(Notice the thumbs-down on both stats!)

Summary Report: Take-aways

There are as many uses for ProWritingAid’s new Summary Report as there are ways to strengthen your writing.

Consider if you’re under a tight deadline and don’t have time to run through each report individually. You can run the Summary Report and check to see what needs shored up before sending your work off to an editor or a client.

And if you’re interested even a little bit in statistical analysis, you’ll love the Summary Report’s multitude of numbers, percentages, and graphs.

Finally, if you’re competitive (ahem, we writers aren’t competitive with each other, right?), you’ll love to see where you stand in relation to other writers on ProWritingAid.

Summary Reports: Better than sliced bread?

Run a Summary Report on your latest piece of writing, and let us know what you think in the comments below.


Want to learn more about How to Use ProWritingAid? Check out these great posts:


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About the Author:

Kathy Edens is a blogger, a ghost writer, and content master who loves writing about anything and everything. Check out her book The Novel-Writing Training Plan: 17 Steps to Get Your Ideas in Shape for the Marathon of Writing or contact her at www.kathy-edens.com.

Comments (6) Add Yours

 
  • abigailpickson says
    cat
    Posted On Jan 20, 2016 | 07:00
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  • bturnage says
    Hi, I've been using Pro-Writing Aid for a couple years now, and while it is a marvelous tool, some of the tool's baseline numbers (ex. sticky words at 40) are stricter than what best selling authors use. I don't know if PWA program has different percentages for different types of writing academic vs. creative, for example. I haven't noticed a difference, but that doesn't mean it's not there. However, I did do an analysis of different metrics using PWA of best selling authors' works, and best selling authors hit a sticky index of between 45 and 49. (The result of this analysis is on my blog.) Fiction writing is different in that there has to be emotional content woven through the text and good dialogue to move people through the scenes. Good emotional content is laden with human indecisiveness and ambiguity. Strong dialogue usually means having your characters speak as everyday people. It you listen to how people speak, there are a ton of glue words in spoken words, because people don't want to risk offending people by being too precise. I'm not a fan of comparing what I'm writing to other people's percentages, so I won't be paying attention to that part of the summary portion. This isn't grade school and I only need to worry about what I'm trying to accomplish. However, younger writers (I'm 59) might get twisted up in worrying whether they are hitting the "correct" percentages. I've been through this with members of my online writing community because while I advocate for using PWA, I've had to talk some down a bit when they got frantic they weren't hitting the "right" numbers. I think PWA is awesome, but as the pirates say, "It's more a guideline than a rule." Beth Turnage bethturnage.com
    Posted On Nov 24, 2016 | 06:42
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  • llLeoll says
    I like the way the new Summary Report looks. And appreciate the readability stats. But I loved the old version of the Summary Report, where you could hyperlink to individual reports. During early edits, I flip between the Writing Style and Sticky Sentences reports. The new report lacks functionality. So I have to run each separately, losing the overall picture. Any plans to add that functionality back in? Thanks, llLeoll
    Posted On Nov 30, 2016 | 04:46
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  • Sharon Talbot says
    I submitted a long excerpt from a novel that I thought I had almost finished editing and this site put me back at least a few weeks, for which I'm grateful! I couldn't believe, for example, how often I had used phrases like "rose up" and several others. I will be using this as long as it helps. Hopefully, it will contribute to better writing out there.
    Posted On Apr 01, 2017 | 04:18
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  • T. T. Thomas says
    I think I said this on a later post of yours, Kathy, but I only disagree with the "sliced" bread part--to me, the Summary Report of PWA is better than bread itself. I just finished a 430-page novel, Mistress of Mogador, and I thought I'd run a quick Summary Report. Prior to this I had used PWA (and another, far more inferior service by another company) for part of a prior novel and for short stories. After I looked at the Summary, I thought, 'OK, I may as well look deeper into a COUPLE of these reports, something I had not done with any thoroughness earlier. Several weeks later, lol, after I had run EVERY. SINGLE. REPORT. available from PWA, which necessitated many sentence rewrites, many sticky word deletions and the Sentence Length Report (can ya tell!), I was tired but grateful. Running these reports helped my novel in so many unseen ways--unseen to the reader. And it all started with the Summary Report. It helps, btw, to read the small explanation of what each report is about before having heart failure! One reaches a point where one can no longer edit one's own work. I once looked at a sentence 20 times before throwing up my hands and saying to the beta reader, 'I don't see anything wrong with it.' She laughed and read me the sentence aloud. It was: "She looked at him with a combination of bug-eyed silence." I stood up. 'What???' I said, hyper-ventilating. She smiled and said: "...a combination of bug-eyed silence' and WHAT?" My eyes wanted to cross the room, as eyes will (haha). I still didn't see it. Finally, she stood up and said "Keyword: combination---bug-eyed silence and WHAT THE HECK ELSE?" Oh. I knew that. Sure I send my books to beta readers, but not until I've cleaned them up via the PWA reports. That's HOW I keep them as beta readers. They don't have to fuss with passive voice, spelling errors or the word 'very' 495 times! Their comments go to things like character, continuity, plot, theme and if the work evokes an emotional response. They almost become development editors, not proofreaders. And that, after all, is the kind of feedback I want from beta readers and editors. When the beta readers are done, I incorporate their thoughts (or not) and send the book to one final reader. I call her my Zeta reader. She is 'the person who knows everything in the world.' And she is an author, too. I will only be able to repay her if I win a Nobel for Literature. As an Indie published author, I value my beta readers' time. I've now got a group of 10 people--only a few of whom are all that interested in historical romance in the late Victorian/Early Edwardian eras, which is where I tend to spend so much time. And yet, the feedback I get is so enthusiastic and positive that genre really doesn't matter to a well-told story. I know this comment is late to the party, but I remember when I first subscribed to PWA, I really didn't 'get' how to use it. I was too impatient, didn't take the time to read what the reports do, and I intuitively knew that to run all the reports I probably needed would take too much time. Trust me, there is no such thing as a 'quick edit'--it DOES take time. If you can't trust your own efforts at doing the best edits you can (with help from programs like PWA--although I've tried them all, and PWA is the best!), then how can you trust anyone else to do them? Invest in yourself. Your writing will love you.
    Posted On Mar 03, 2018 | 02:39
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    • Chris says
      Awesome! We love hearing this from our users! And you are right, you get as much out of the program as you put into it. It's not a quick fix. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment!
      Posted On Mar 05, 2018 | 11:43
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