Editing Essentials: Online Help

Editing and proofreading are painstaking and difficult processes. It’s easy to miss errors in the writing you’ve been staring at for hours, and a fresh pair of “eyes” is always welcome. Here are four free online sources that exist to help:

Should it be “a university” or “an university”? Did you write “diary cow” when you meant “dairy cow”? How often have you used the word “pumpkin” in the last chapter? After the Deadline is an online program that helps you answer those questions by sifting through your work and marking issues in spelling, grammar, and style. And, if a suggested edit doesn’t make sense, the program will also explain why that specific problem was marked, helping you avoid the same mistakes in future writing.

Need a quick round of editing to weed out those weak words, clichés, homonyms, adverbs, and tense shifts? Look no further than EditMinion. This online copy editor locates all of the above and more in your writing, as well as provides random inspirational quotes, so you can perform at your authorial best.

It’s easy to get caught up in a sentence, until that single thread of thought becomes a tangled mess of clauses and direct objects and objective complements. Say what now? Here’s where the Hemingway App comes in handy. This desktop app highlights sentences that are either run-on or too dense in red, weak adverbs and hedging in blue, passive voice in green, and suggested synonyms in purple. Chop chop!

You’ve reached the fifty-second chapter of your fantasy epic, and are now plagued by editing fears. Have you successfully developed all of your plot lines? Were any subplots accidentally dropped? And where has Uncle Jack ended up? Never fear! Hiveword has got your back. This online story organizer will break your story into consecutive chapters and scenes, flagging each character and setting that is mentioned in each scene, and showing where these scenes fit in the puzzle of the overall plot. A-ha! There’s Uncle Jack.

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