Let's Talk Checkers!

Julie L.

As we tiptoe back into the realm of software, while trying to remain sane in an increasingly insane world, let’s touch on a few ideas and concepts I discussed often in my self-editing articles a couple years back. And, why, are we going backward? Much of what was talked about with self-editing is 100% relevant to picking the right kind of software.
Part of learning to self-edit is to know where your weaknesses are, so you can teach yourself to not gloss over, but to actively see them when you go back to clean up your stories. If you are completely clueless on what your writing issues are, as they relate to grammar, spelling, active/passive voice, etc. then how can you possibly pick the correct software?
But, you may think, “ there are free versions, so I can just go through them until I find one I like”.
Or... “ I just use what comes with my word processing software”.
Yes, you can do that.
However, the entire point of computers and software is supposed to be to make our lives easier. Right?
Isn't picking one software, using it, realizing it isn't your thing, and then moving on to the next kind of a waste of time? Even if you are using free versions, time is money, especially for authors.
And if you are ONLY using what comes with your word processing software, unless it is a complete fiction writer software suite (think Scrivener), then your grammar and spell checker are aimed at business and academic English. A generic, general, catch all grammar/spell checker is aimed at correcting the business letter and related documents, the student essay, the non-fiction writing, the academic based prose. Fiction English is not that.
So, step one in deciding what kind of grammar/spell checker you want is being honest and asking "What am I weak in?" Everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are different: writing styles, spelling, vocabulary, syntax, grammar - no one who has decided to embark on the authorship journey can honestly say "I need help with everything". You may not be completely confident in your writing, but there is a difference between lack of confidence, and knowing your weaknesses.

Read the entire article in the September 2021 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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