I don’t know if I ever told this story on my blog, but here goes. When I published my first book, Forever Avalon, I was excited. I sent first copies of my book to my friends and family. About a month later, I get an email from my mother with two pages of grammar, spelling, and other errors in my book. She said she enjoyed it but there were mistakes.
That was like a stake through the vampire’s heart at dawn. I couldn’t believe I missed such simple errors, but that is the problem with editing. No matter who does it, a professional editor or your next door neighbor, there are bound to be issues. I have read through my manuscripts several times over and I still find errors.
Finally, I broke down and spent the money on Grammarly. We’ve all seen the ads and how the program works. I wanted to see if it would make a difference in my writing and editing. Low and behold, my eyes were opened. First off, I found out that I write in passive voice more than I thought. It takes one simple word to change a sentence from active to passive and it seems I missed that a lot.
I also found out that Spellcheck is evil! I mean the lowest depths of Hell evil. What Spellcheck missed, Grammarly pointed out as misspelled words (pay attention here Microsoft!) WTF? I had no idea. It’s great that professional editors have an eye for these things, but that’s something an independent author like me isn’t able to afford. Normally, I relied on Spellcheck to help me through my edits. I was wrong.
Also, I found that using Grammarly, I put a lot of prepositions at the end of sentences, used adverbs wrong on different occasions, wordiness in sentences, and my comma misuse was way out of hand. Am I that bad of a writer? No, I don’t think so. I think its just I’ve never been properly edited before and gotten the feedback I needed. Most of my novels have been through a basic editing, not in depth. I found that Grammarly gave me an in depth review of my work and made me a better writer.
As I’ve reviewed my latest WIPs using Grammarly, I found myself correcting the errors without even having to look at the correction column. I knew instinctively what was wrong, after just a few chapters of review. This is where technology helps a writer by showing them their mistakes, and making me correct myself as I write. It’s worked so far in editing my WIP, and as I’m writing new material, it makes me react faster to mistakes or incorrect sentence structure. It’s making me a better writer.
So, to everyone out there, I would recommend Grammarly as a tool to help you in your writing. It has its quirks… There are times it makes me remove a comma then tells me to put it back. I’ve learned to make adjustments to the program so as to fit my writing style. I mean, as a fantasy writer, its hard to make a software program understand words you make up as magic for what it tries to understand as our reality.
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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers.