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Oct
26
2016

Writing Tools -- by CHERYL L CURRIE

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With almost seventy percent of Americans wanting to write, one would think there would be far more tools out there. It has taken some time to find the best.  Let me save you some time and effort.

My first breakthrough in my quest to find economical sources for critiques and editing was Critique Circle.  My second breakthrough I found in their forum, ProWritingAid.  Here's why you should use both of them:

  • You get both sides of the coin as a writer
  • You save a ton of money on editing

When you write, you may experience a cycle of content and discontent.  In other words, there may be times when you hate your work or get sick of it.  Dorothy Parker once said, "I hate writing, I love having written."  It's easy for a published author of several novels to say it's a wonderful career.  He or she has completed their work and it was accepted.

But, when you're in the middle of a novel and you're running out of steam, you may need a break.  That's when I head on over to Critique Circle and start reading someone else's work.  It's FREE but you can upgrade for more benefits.  The most that would cost is $10 for one month or less than $4 a month if you pay for the year.  Well worth it if you have an entire novel written.

Here are a few of the benefits I've experienced:

  • I discovered I know stuff (grammar, spelling, punctuation)
  • It felt really good to help someone else do what I want to do
  • By critiquing as a reader, I learned more as a writer
  • I realized, as a writer, I'm not alone
  • The buddy system is almost like being in college
  • The two to one ratio of critique/getting critiqued kept me writing
  • I was compelled to be courageous and let someone else see my work
  • I found critiques from strangers far more honest than friends and family
  • I've saved time, money, and potential embarrassment

At Critique Circle (CC), they call critiquing "critting" -- which would make us "critters," I guess.  Here's a video on how it works.

CRITIQUING AT CRITIQUE CIRCLE

Before you post your blog, assignment, short story, poem, or chapter, head over to Grammarly or ProWritingAid.  "Critters" only have a certain amount of time and patience.  If the work is riddled with spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, and the person doing the critique has a time crunch, it's a waste of the writer's and reader's time.  At ProWritingAid, you can copy-paste your work into their writing tool and fix the English.

They also have a plagiarism tool and a lot of other goodies but ProWritingAid is only free for the first 500 words.  Premium is $40 for the year (or less if you buy two years and so on--pro-rated).  Consider the cost of editing (average of $35/hour) and you'll see it's worth it.

If you know about other economical tools and groups that have helped you as a writer, please share the information in the comments below.  You can also let me know what information you'd like to see in the next blog.

See you at Critique Circle.

Posted by CHERYL L CURRIE 26 Oct 2016 at 06:45
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Responses to this blog

Sac 26 Oct 2016 at 16:48  
Nice post. I'd venture to say that critiquing the work of others is just as valuable as being critiqued. It helps you identify the mistakes you're making on your own, without someone else point it out.
Aeolanyira 27 Oct 2016 at 01:48  
I use prowriting aid all the time and I've had it analyze 1000+ words and I don't have the paid version.
Spaulding 27 Oct 2016 at 08:57  
I rented PWA two years ago, and bought it last Christmas. No more yearly prices and it works in my MS Word.
Ml2872 27 Oct 2016 at 09:37  
I agree with you 110%. CC is an invaluable tool for any writer. But I still have to give ProWriting Aid a try. Can't wait.
Sherryh 28 Oct 2016 at 08:02  
Another plug for CC: As a blind user, I have found the site intuitive to navigate and relatively easy to use - which isn't something I can say about every site. I can get anywhere I need to from the main page (and most other pages) and I can always return to the main page. The classic and inline critiquing interfaces are easy to use - and I assume the template interface is as well; I've just never tried it out. Mods are responsive and super-helpful, and my fellow CCers are a delight.

There are some tweaks that would make the site still easier for me to navigate, such as making the subject line of a PM into a heading so that I can hop directly to it, and some tools and displays, such as "Books I Have Read" on a user profile page, don't display for me. But I can readily use all of the essential functions and most of the extras, and find CC an incredibly valuable resource in my writing.

I'm happy to recommend CC to visual and non-visual writers alike!
Lalalea 31 Oct 2016 at 07:42  
Thanks for recommending CC, I'll check it out soon. I was looking for a reliable readability tool and hopefully found it. ProWritingAid is a handy tool for editing but I prefer Unplag for plagiarism scanning. I'm not a professional writer but I'm doing the best I can.
Patricia16 16 Dec 2016 at 10:10  
This is dated October but I didn't see it then. I've appreciated the most what you know about history and the people I'm writing about. That has saved me embarrassment on embarrassment. Some reviewers of the final product would tell the world. I'd be forced to crawl under my desk and curl up in the fetal position.

Like you, I started with ProWritingAid. I thought I'd just put my work in there and be out in fifteen minutes. After all it was already perfect. It took months to get out of there. What was wrong with them? Didn't they know a great author when they saw one? (No arrogance there). I'm grateful I didn't bring all those errors over here. It must be perfect now—oh wait. Not so perfect and there are times I wonder if I'm a writer at all. But because of those who have taken the time to crit it, it's better than it would have been. and my critters have encouraged me along with the critique. I thank everyone who has looked at my book.
Sopho 29 Dec 2016 at 21:18  
Patricia16, I totally agree with you.

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