Editing Resources Volume 1
There are many reasons to add resources to your editing toolbox, and to recommend them to help your authors.
As an editor, you’ve studied language and stories because you love it. Or maybe you’re an author and it’s a necessary evil. Editors bring experience and expertise to editing in a way that an author can’t for their own book, and I saw this as both author and editor.
But we aren’t perfect creatures. Perfection is an impractical possibility. My newsletters will include a series on resources to help you be a better editor from the work of editing to keeping yourself healthy.
It’s likely you know about many of these tools I’m going to suggest throughout this series, but hopefully some of them are new for you.
Software can be contentious in the community as fears about the editor being replaced surface. I don’t believe a human editor can ever be replaced. The uniqueness of writing style, story construction, local dialects and slang, social and political elements, legal considerations, and the fluidity of grammar and punctuation rules are things that software can’t navigate with the same quality as a human editor. Not to mention, the passion editors have for their work can’t be replaced by a machine.
There are many varieties: some are easy to use, others are incredibly complex. A few of my favourites include Autocrit, Grammarly, Hemmingway, Dragon Naturally speaking, and Microsoft Word. Autocrit and Grammarly professional subscriptions are low cost editing software that create a dynamo team to back you up. Autocrit offers industry comparison, tense consistency checkers, cliché identification, pacing analysis, repetitive word usage reports and more. It is a detail focused checker perfect for supporting your authors and making the best edits possible. Grammarly is a spell-checker on steroids. It handles multiple English dialects, letting you edit for your Canadian, U.S., British/UK, and Australian clients. While its suggestions are sometimes questionable, if it flags something, there’s often need for a revision. It helps with spelling consistency and language, dangling modifiers, grammar concerns, and is a superior tool to most word processor’s built in checkers.
Word processors are an important tool for every author and editor. Depending on the complexity of the processor, it can assist in everything from formatting, editing, sharing, cowriting, tracking notes, or just recording the text of a book. My favourite is Microsoft Word because it’s a tool I know well and have had professional training in. It can work offline, lets me write my books without distraction, and gives me a way to offer suggested changes to a client’s text with commentary. Other word processors, short of notepads or rich text documents, have too much to distract me, but many other authors and editors swear by them.
Dragon Naturally Speaking or Dragon software is a tool I discovered in my day job, then explored when I became disabled. This is more something that can assist your writers or if you need to transcribe information from voice files. It’s a powerful voice tool that can assist writers with dictation (a way to get massive word counts while saving the wrists or in inopportune times). It’s also a excellent tool for transcribing and allows you to listen while interviewing or make verbal notes for yourself. I pair this software with my phone voice recorder or digital recorder.
There is software to reduce distractions, help schedule tasks, track time, edit, record, store, sort, check references, build bibliographies, check math equations, and more.
Other software I’ve explored or heard about include:
- Pro Writer Aid
- Google Docs, Sheets, Drive
- Pdf editing/reading software
- LibreOffice Free Writer
- MathType Equation Editor
- After the Deadline
- Corel Design Suite (Best Price Link)
- Waste No Time
- Quickbooks (Contact Catherine for 50% off)
As writers, we all know what an incredible tool dictation software can be. It enables us to write faster and avoid the dangers of RSI and a sedentary lifestyle. But many of us give up on dictating when we find we can’t get the accuracy we need to be truly productive.
This book changes all of that. With almost two decades of using Dragon software under his belt and a wealth of insider knowledge from within the dictation industry, Scott Baker will reveal how to supercharge your writing and achieve sky-high recognition accuracy from the moment you start using the software.
English can be a language full of spellings that look right but are dead wrong. Toss in those infuriating sound-alikes (they’re/their/there, its/it’s, except/accept), which computer spell checkers usually don’t catch, and it’s no wonder that 99% of us are often embarassed and undermined by unwitting typos. . . If you have ever searched for a world in a dictionary and have not been able to find it or if you are at a loss about a word, good news: you’ve just picked up the book that promises to be the single most invaluable resource on your desk. . .
This post was originally sent as an email to my Editing Services Newsletter email list in October 2020. If you’d like to receive emails like this, please sign up using the form in the sidebar.