Every author has a great sigh of relief when she writes the last words in a book. Enjoy that moment, you deserve a bit of celebration. Once you've patted yourself on the back a couple of times, the real work is just beginning. Your first draft isn't nearly clean enough to send to your editor, it needs a lot of work to whip it into shape. Between the typos, the repeated words, and the sentences that run three lines long, a first draft is filled with mistakes that need to be corrected before an editor ever sees it. Here are five great tools to help you in that process. All of them have free versions online, but some of them offer more robust paid versions, as well.
Everyone sticks up their nose at the spell check, but more of us rely on it than we like to admit. The secret to using spell check effectively is to question every correction it offers you and to read every page in the manuscript without relying that spell check will get everything write. It's a handy little tools, not an infallible magic wand.
The Hemingway editor makes your writing clearer and easier to read. Past your words into the tool and Hemingway will highlight run-on sentences, complicated paragraphs, passive voice, large words, and adverbs. Hemingway corrects the form of your writing to make it easier to read and more pleasant on the ear.
Grammarly is a huge help when it comes to basic line editing. It shows over 250 different types of mistake plus shows poor vocabulary usage. Not just a spell check and grammar check, this program can find words that are spelled correctly but used incorrectly.
ProWritingAid is another online editor that finds passive verbs, overused words, cliches, and repetitive sentences. Combine this with another online editor for a powerhouse editing session.
Natural Reader is a free text to speech program that reads your words out loud. After you've finished with all the other editing programs you plan to use, run your manuscript through Natural Reader. You'll find phrases that sound clunky when spoken, words that just don't fit, fluff, and many other details that your eyes would never catch. Think of how easy it is to make the you/your mistake. When hearing those words, you'll have no problem figuring out if you've got the right one in place.
Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!