Starting a new project is the best feeling in the world. Many writers will agree that tearing through the pages, writing never before imagined scenes, full of great new characters, is the fun part of writing a novel. Revision and editing are often painful and slow, by comparison. Yet, it must be done and done well. I use Microsoft Word or Google Docs to write. I write with Spell Check turned on, though the squiggly red lines beneath fictional names can be annoying until I add them to the document’s dictionary. After completing the first draft, I read it once or twice doing minor revision and editing and taking notes. Then I take a break, as described in my Project Rotation blog. I return and edit once on paper, once using the Track Changes in Word, and another time after accepting or rejecting the changes. Then, sometimes after a few days to clear my head, I use Serenity Editor, an advanced editing program that goes beyond what the grammar and spell-check available in word processors. Serenity Software: Editor (I just call it Serenity Editor) helps with spelling, grammar, and style recommendations. I found it particularly useful for warning me of homonyms (are / our, their / there).
Serenity Editor has a free trial, which I took advantage of. The full version costs extra, but is worth it for the ability to work in a Word document. The trial and standard version require you to either print the output or flip from screen to screen. I did not mind the trial version, despite the paper I wasted, but really enjoyed the full version once I had it (for an extra $20 approximately).
This is probably a good time to mention that I am not an affiliate of the company. I like it, so I thought I would share my view. The program does not replace a good proofreader, critique groups, or a writer’s diligence, but it adds another layer of quality and makes a writer think. The primary reason I have embraced the program, is to create manuscripts that are as clean as possible, so when I pay an editor by the hour, it will take less time and save me money.
I used some screen shots to show a crude preview, using a pitch for my first novel, Dragon Badge. With such a short expert the editor did not find much to complain about, but I assure you when you begin a word with the word “it” the program suggests revision of the sentence. It really gets on my nerves, but I sometimes listen to advice. (Serenity Editor warned me that starting with “it” was vague and that I used a “cliché or dead metaphor.)
I recommend this program because professional editors can be expensive and this is a good step to take prior to paying for services. In today’s publishing industry, a well-edited book is needed to stand out among the crowd. NOTE: I recently learned the trial version has the ability to edit in Word, which is a nice feature.