Atomic Scribbler is a full writing environment for novelists and short story writers. In Atomic you write your novel scene by scene or chapter by chapter in a modern Windows application similar to Microsoft Word. The difference is your Document is not a single document as it is in Word, it’s a collection of scenes that you can move around, drag and drop, save for later, etc.
Atomic Scribbler is designed for novelists, not for business users. Alongside writing your novel, it has sections devoted to storing research material such as images, bookmarks to web pages, and files and documents from other sources. You can double click on any of these items in your Research tree to open them. This is what it looks like:
Atomic has built in features to track daily word counts. It imports and exports from Word or Open Office and has a very cool automatic backup and automatic saving feature, ensuring that you don’t lose any work.
And the best part: It’s free.
All of the above functionality is available for free. No cost, no sign-up, no annoying email marketing campaigns. The Atomic Scribbler website has download links and a comprehensive Knowledge Base to get you started.SmartEdit is a paid-for Add-In for Atomic Scribbler that helps you edit your novel. While Atomic Scribbler is very new software — first released in late 2017 — SmartEdit has existed as a Microsoft Word Add-In for many years. In 2018 we built an Add-In for Atomic Scribbler containing the same functionality as the Word version.
What does SmartEdit do?
It runs a series of checks on your entire document and highlights areas that you might want to look at. Unlike other editing software it does not make suggestions for improvement or tell you what to change. The assumption is that the writer is the creative force behind the work and that the writer makes all decisions about what to change.
SmartEdit presents its findings to you in a simple list to the right of the word processor, complete with the sentence in which the result was found for context. If you choose to make a change, all you have to do is double click the result and the scene will be opened and the sentence highlighted for you so you can begin work.
What exactly does SmartEdit help with and identify:
- Word and phrase repetition
- All adverbs used in your work
- Words and phrases that you choose to highlight, such as common typos or characters you might want to keep an eye on
- Redundancies such as “he fell down” as opposed to falling up
- Misused words and homonyms in your document such as “new” and “knew”, “less than” and “fewer than” which can occur through typos or through misunderstanding the word
- All dialogue tags used — a great way to see any unusual tags that you’ve been using
- Every proper noun — useful to keep track of names and to ensure that old names that you’ve changed aren’t lingering somewhere in chapter 22
- All acronyms — handy for spotting inconsistencies such as FBI and F.B.I.
- It highlights all use of what I call risqué words and phrases - those words that you know will probably offend someone. Which is not to say you should be changing them, but it can be a great help if you want to remove profanity from a character’s dialogue if you change that character and how they speak
- Words and phrases used to begin sentences. Are you starting a host of sentences with “And then…”
- Shows you all your extra-long sentences. The Zane Grey sample novel we use for illustration has one sentence with 92 words.
- A host of punctuation types are highlighted, such as semi-colons and colons, EM and EN dashes, multiple periods, inconsistent spaces, exclamation marks and much more.
You can run these checks as a whole on your entire document or individually against a single scene. It all depends on how you work and how you prefer to edit. The screenshot below shows the Adverb results for Riders of the Purple Sage. Click on the image to enlarge it and do bear in mind that this is a published novel from a well-known author. Try running a first-draft through SmartEdit and see what it finds.
How to Install SmartEdit for Atomic Scribbler
Atomic Scribbler and SmartEdit are Window software. As long as you’re running a recent version of Windows (7, 8 or 10) it should install without issue. Follow the steps below.
1. Install Atomic Scribbler from the website here.
The Atomic Scribbler website has an extensive Knowledge Base explaining all aspects of the software, so you may wish to have a look at that before you get to SmartEdit.
2. Go to the SmartEdit menu inside Atomic Scribbler.
From here you can install the SmartEdit Add-In and buy a license after you’ve tried it out.
3. Click the Install SmartEdit button.
You should see the dialog below as it installs.
4. A new SmartEdit menu will open in Atomic Scribbler when the installation completes.
SmartEdit is now active and will remain active for 10 working days as you try it out and put it through its paces.
5. Run a check on your novel or scene.
Assuming you have some content in your Atomic Scribbler project, click the Repetitions button and wait a few seconds for the word and phrase repetitions results to show.
That’s all there is to it. You browse the results, you take action on those result or not. But remember, SmartEdit is highlighting things for you to look it, it’s not telling you to make a change or telling you that something is wrong. Write your first-draft and when it comes time to edit, that’s when SmartEdit comes in to play.
After the 10 day trial has ended — or before — you can buy a license by clicking on the “Buy SmartEdit” button. If you decide not to buy SmartEdit, Atomic Scribbler will continue to run as the free software that it is, but you will no longer be able to run SmartEdit checks.
For a more detailed description of how the SmartEdit checks and results work, read a few more topics in this Knowledge Base.