I finished my last round of editing for my two authors last night before our next meeting this weekend and I need to point out the benefits and limits of spell check. The one button on Micro Soft Word that helps authors catch typos improves our writing as we work through our novels, and has become advanced in the upgrades throughout the year. Word allows you to check grammar and conciseness. Basic grammar checks in the full version made sending off to another professional less necessary.
However, there are limits. As I moved through the hundreds of pages, these auto editing tools have trouble understanding mood, tone of voice, and idioms. The way we speak in our every day language is missed by an editing tool. I had to laugh as I went through their novel because one check would suggest turning “do not” into “don’t”, then I would do another round of editing and it would suggest turning it back into “do not”.
The best thing you can do as an author is understand your voice, your message, and stay consistent. I found several ways to abbreviate 3:00 o’clock and resources said different things for time of day. The big debate was using a space for 3pm, 3 pm, or 3:00 pm. These are all right. The important part is choosing one and staying consistent throughout your document.
Do you need to use a comma between clauses? I’m not going to write down all the rules but I can point you toward another resource that elevates your writing at Grammarly. They explain using commas here https://www.grammarly.com/blog/comma/.
One important thing to note is that if you look at top selling novels, it’s not always about the proper use of grammar that makes a best seller. Novels are about keeping the attention of your audience. Some choices are up to the authors and the style they want to come across in their choice of words. I might cringe at run on sentences but sometimes this works because it’s expressing what’s going on inside the main character’s head or Point of view (POV). Spell and grammar check can’t correct intent. There is a point when you will need to choose to ignore the rules.
The best thing you can do when working with an editor is hand them a style sheet or guide and talk about your big picture, share your themes, and let them know the voice that should be coming through the pages.
What is one trending website that authors are using to format their books once their finished editing in Word? Many authors are using Reedsy at https://reedsy.com. This website converts documents into paperback sizes, ePub files, and mobi files for Amazon kindle with the push of a few buttons. Most authors who use this website don’t have complaint about conversion issues. I should also point out that this site is used by many editors for formatting, and you can connect with them if you need additional help.
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