Editing Software for Writers — How is SmartEdit Different?

It doesn’t tell you what to do. That’s the biggest difference between SmartEdit and so many of its competitors.

SmartEdit is the tool, you’re the writer. It’s the machine, powered by ones and zeros. You’re the human being, full of thoughts and ideas, and fueled by bursts of creativity.

Would a brush rise up and instruct a painter on his choice of colour? Would a guitar question a musician’s chords? Of course not. Then why do so many software products designed for writers feel the need to instruct the writer and tell him what he’s doing wrong?

You’ve used the word ginormous twelve times. Consider removing four of them.

This paragraph has three adverbs. Remove two.

Every instance of the word gowpen has been highlighted in red, so you can see how close together they are and do something about it.

Endeavour is a poor word choice for your YA novel. Replace it with try. It’s easier for teenagers to understand.

SmartEdit does not instruct the writer in any way. It provides you with sets of information and then steps back while you decide what, if anything, you’re going to do about it. There are no green lines under adverbs, no suggestions to help the faint-hearted writer unable to trim his beloved sentences.

It’s a glorified spell checker, only it comes without a squiggly red underline, making it easier to ignore. It shows you what you’ve written, presents your own work to you in different ways. There’s something about seeing your novel broken down into a less comfortable format that makes spotting areas that might need changing a little easier.

The not-quite-right sentence in the middle of an almost perfect chapter stands out when seen in isolation, removed from the cover of the well crafted paragraphs and dialog that surround it.

Have you used the word beautiful eighteen times? So what? Take a look at all of those sentences, sitting side by side, and maybe you will decide to go with a different word in one or two cases. Or maybe you’ll decide that it’s such a perfect word choice that your short story would benefit from a few more beautiful’s.

But don’t take my word for it. Try out SmartEdit for yourself, and see if it suits your writing and editing style. It’s not for everyone, not even for most writers. I was describing SmartEdit to an Irish poet a few weeks ago in Galway and she did everything but turn up her nose. The upward nasal tilt did arrive towards the end of our conversation, but by that time I’d reached the subject of self-publishing and Hugh Howey, so it wasn’t really SmartEdit’s fault.

The trial version runs for ten working days, so you have plenty of time to take it for a test run before deciding it’s not for you.

02 Apr 2014