Tag Archives: Grammarly

Free Proofreading Tool

Many writers use Grammarly to catch mistakes in their manuscripts.

This morning, I found another free online tool that hunts out dubious grammar and spelling. Proofread.bot works well and catches glitches that Grammarly misses, offering more of an explanation as to why there’s an error.

Other tools can be found in the article How To Easily Proofread and Edit Your Own eBook, from the Digital Reader website, whose free newsletter is worth subscribing to:

How To Easily Proofread And Edit Your Own eBook | The Digital Reader

Planet Spell Checker

I’m interested in learning if anyone knows where companies who produce writing software get their spell checkers from.

I’d have thought that to support their product, the spell checker would be of the highest quality, perhaps produced by, and bought from, an expert in dictionaries, such as Oxford, Collins or Chambers. This is hard to credit when I see the words my software queries. It’s easier to believe that spell checkers are based on an outdated children’s dictionary acquired for a few pennies at a charity shop!

I use LibreOffice Writer to create my novels, as it’s easier for me to understand than MS Word and more importantly, is free! It has a thesaurus and an automatic spell checker, which I’m sometimes grateful of, other times irritated by.

Grammarly provides useful support, and I’m particularly glad of its punctuation checker as I tend to suffer from comma-itis! Its spell checker is just as elementary as LibreOffice. Words that I’ve typed recently, and which have been questioned, include track, moor, wizard, mauve and siphon.

I’ve added them to the spell checker’s dictionary so that it doesn’t query their use again. I well understand, why British novelist Will Self declared that the one thing he’d rescue from his burning house would be his laptop—not for the WIP—rather, to preserve his spell checker!

Occasionally, the software cautions me in a humorous way. Just this morning, I was writing about a dangerous guard dog, which my detective protagonist sees prowling the house of criminals he has under surveillance. When it barks, it reminds him of the Hound of The Baskervilles. Spell checker sprang into action, asking me ‘Do you mean Hound of The Basketballs?

Keeping it Fresh

Even if an author avoids writer’s block, it’s quite possible to feel jaded by one’s output.

There’s a lot that’s rather mechanical about the writing process, when it comes to multiple read-throughs of the manuscript, editing away, thinking that you’ve finally created a version that’s faultless, at least so far as punctuation, grammar and repetition are concerned—only to discover a glaring error that you somehow missed fifty times!

Some writers love the task of editing, but whatever your attitude, there are various proofreading apps such as Grammarly, Hemingway Editor and Typely to assist you.

When I returned to creative writing in 2013, I did so after four years of depression, which my brain cells plainly got tired of, as suddenly I had a freshwater spring of writing ideas bubbling from me. Titles, sentences and fragments of verse erupted: I had to sit down at the keyboard to turn down the noise in my mind.

Initially, I wrote short stories, poems and song lyrics. Some of these were about aspects of life that were of concern to me, such as bereavement, being a loner, the aftereffects of having fought in a war (PTSD), mistaken identity and the search for love. Several poems became the inspiration for short stories and novellas.

I turned to writing novels in 2014. I completed the fifth story in my Cornish Detective series in 2018. I queried 88 literary agents and indie publishers early this year, which is my third major campaign of making submissions, totalling 650 times I’ve heard ‘No’! It’s hard to keep querying fresh, for there are so many hoops to jump through, to satisfy agents’ different requirements, that it becomes an exercise in concentration and humility.

I’m planning a return to self-publishing. In between novel writing, and even during, I’ve created flash fiction, poetry, short stories and novellas. Some of these were for competition entries, but working in shorter forms is stimulating.

Even if you don’t normally write poems or stories that are 50 words long, there are benefits to trying. For one thing, it forces a writer to consider word choice, refocusing your imagination. With no intention of releasing this work on sensitive readers, you might still get inspiration from it, that will intensify your novel.

Another advantage of compressing or condensing ideas into verse or flash fiction is that when you return to longer forms you’re more aware of the logline and tagline of your story….

Altering perspective in this way helps me to stay fresh. It’s very easy to get obsessed with the characters in your main project. But, changing tack doesn’t always provide clarity.

With the overbearing influence of technology and forensic evidence in 21st-century criminal investigations, I was starting to feel rather constrained in how to simply tell a story, so I took a break and returned to the 19th-century to write the second novella in a series about an American Civil War veteran. Far from being simpler to create, there were so many complicated issues to do with race and politics, that it was even trickier to tell in a cogent way. I began to yearn for the solid certainty of CCTV and autopsy evidence.

How do you keep your creative juices flowing?