Monday, May 18, 2009


Yesterday I briefly mentioned the AutoCrit Editing Software. Here's how that works. You upload a chunk of your manuscript, then run up to 14 reports on it. Reports include: Overused Words, Repeated Phrases, Sentence Length Variation, Repeated Words, Dialogue Tags, First Words, Names and Pronouns, Repeated Phrases Summary, Combination View of Overused & Repeated Words, Cliché Finder, Redundancy Finder, Homonym Highlighter, Readability Suite, and Pacing Monitor.

Here's what AutoCrit found in 4 random pages of manuscript, comparing my writing to word usage averages across "dozens of samples of published fiction":
feel/feeling/felt: 3, 0.1 %EXCEEDED
generic descriptions: 2, 0.1 %EXCEEDED
initial conjunction: 7, 0.5 %EXCEEDED
just/then: 8, 0.4 %EXCEEDED
maybe: 2, 0.1 %EXCEEDED
that: 15, 0.6 %EXCEEDED
was/were: 16, 1.4 %EXCEEDED

I have a little problem with "was." I'm a little too fond of the word, and AutoCrit points out instances for me, since my eyes skip over them. But sometimes it also points out things I've done intentionally, like repeated phrases for effect. Still, this program provides a good place to start looking.

[EDITED TO ADD: When I uploaded an entire chapter, most of these overages disappeared. I think the larger the sample size, the more accurate result.]

Sometimes the Wizard points out things I missed. Sometimes it just reassures me that I caught everything I should have. It's a fresh set of eyes when mine are tired, if nothing else. Perhaps I won't need this crutch after a few more years of practice. But for now? I'm loving it.


  1. Hi Sarah

    This is interesting sounding software - I'll have to look it up!

    Really just wanted to compliment you on your lucid and intelligent rebuttals in support of the querying process over on Call My Agent. It's hard to sound so calm when you're up against someone who clearly doesn't understand the process. Anyway, best of luck with your writing.


  2. Wow ... what interesting software. I hadn't heard of that before! Thanks for the information.