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Editing Tools Reviewed

In a recent discussion with fellow authors, we got around to discussing editing tools, and what they use and love. It was an interesting discussion, and one that caused me to spend this weekend testing out the capabilities of Autocrit, Grammarly, and ProWriting Aid.

All three tools boast the ability to improve your writing – but which one is best?

I tested out all three, and here are my thoughts:



Interesting feedback with comparisons of your stats to famous authors. It’s good at pointing out the problems, but doesn’t provide any suggestions for solutions. I did really like the ability to tailor my feedback by genre or bestselling author, and found its feedback interesting and helpful. Access unlocks lots of free courses, downloads, and options for paid classes and feedback.

My favorite features:

I really liked the ability to compare my manuscript side-by-side with a bestselling author (I chose Freida McFadden) and see how it was similar and different from hers.

For example, I use a lot less dialogue tags than Freida, but a lot more (too many!) adverbs in dialogue. The below graphs show my writing versus hers.

I also liked the tense identification, passive voice, overused and repeated word reports.

I didn’t like:

Autocrit isn’t built to “use as you go”. Once you finish a draft, you need to then upload it into their website, review its feedback/suggestions, and then return to your word processor software and find/fix each instance.

$30/month, $144/year, $299/lifetime (for Black Friday)

ProWritingAid (PWA):


PWA is great at both pointing out issues and providing suggestions for solutions. Another big plus is the plugins they offer for Word, Google Docs and Scrivener, which allow you to see feedback (and make immediate changes) on the fly. I’ve also noticed that its customers are very enthusiastic in their enjoyment/use of the tool, which is a great sign.

My favorite features:

I liked the critique tool, which will review a 4,000 word chunk of your book. It did a very accurate job of understanding the events and critiquing my delivery, dialogue, scene setting, etc. It was very complementary, and I didn’t receive any constructive feedback in this report but the other tools in PWA did provide that.

Here’s a screenshot of part of their critique of my scene:

I also liked that PWA provided me clear “scores” in different areas, so I could easily see that I was doing well in Emotion Tells, Conjunction Starts, and Engagement, but needed to work on Quote Consistency, Unusual Dialogue Tags, and Long Repeated Phrases.

Here’s a screenshot showing the areas I need to work on:

I didn’t like:

It was slow at times, and the user interface did take me a bit to get used to. Granted, it was processing 80,000+ words at a high level of detail, so I don’t think this would be an issue once it finished its initial read-through.

$30/month, $120/year, $399/lifetime (all plans 50% off for Black Friday)

Summary of both:

PWA and Autocrit have a lot of the same features (overused words, dialogue tags, adverb identifiers, passive voice, grammar and style checks) so it’s really a matter of which platform you prefer and when/how you like to edit. I wish I could clearly say that I liked one or the other, but each appealed to me in different ways. If someone put my feet to the fire, I would pick ProWritingAid, mostly for their Word and Scrivener plugins.

But wait, what about Grammarly?
I decided not to go into Grammarly here because I value your time and I do feel like Autocrit or PWA is a better fit for fiction authors. Those two are much more specific and tailored for creative writing. Grammarly maxes out at 15,000 or 20,000 words so it can be a real pain trying to divide up your manuscript into chunks in order to edit/review it with Grammarly.

Alessandra Torre
Inkers Con co-founder

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