Sunday, 21 October 2012

Excellent Editing Software

Part of Ice Diaries on Pro Writing Aid
Yesterday I reached the end of the WIP, Ice Diaries. This is not quite as good as it sounds, as the last couple of chapters are sketchy and need more work, after which it has to go out to beta readers and have further adjustments, but it's still a pleasing moment. 

As well as improving the end and tweaking the whole novel, this is the stage when I put the text chapter by chapter through editing software. For me this is an essential process because of my word echo habit - I'm capable of repeating a word three times in a short blog comment. My awareness of the problem enables me to catch a lot of instances, but not all. I've used Autocrit for the past three years, but discovered my subscription lapsed in July, and it was $77 to renew. This struck me as too much - three years ago I paid $35. So I searched Google for an alternative, and found Pro Writing Aid.

And it's really good - I'm so enthusiastic about it I probably need to add that I am unaffiliated with PRW and if you click on the link I make no money. The design and layout are nice and clear, and the window you paste into is large. The software will check your prose for all sorts of things, most of which I won't be using, but Repeated Words and Phrases and Overused Words are invaluable to me. I especially love the way Repeated Words shows repeats in a range of pretty colours, so you can see the twins (or worse, triplets) at a glance.

Best of all, Pro Writing Aid is free. Woot!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

How many words a day do you write?

There's a terrifying thread on Kindleboards on this topic calculated to make the average writer feel inadequate. Here are a few sample comments:

"In a half hour session I can do up to 3k but 2,200 is my preferred comfortable pace. If I'm on deadline I get 15 - 20k done in a day. But 10k is my usual daily output if I'm working on something. But I have days where I'm just lazy."

"I tend to write in short bits, most days, say 500-1000 words. But I am a burst writer. My last four novels have had the final 20-25k words all written in one day."

"Under deadline, it can peak at 1k per hour some hours. Without a deadline, 3-4k per day."

"I write generally 1000 to 1400 words per 45 minute writing session.  I aim for at least 4k a day, but 7k is better. My best day ever was about 14,000 words."

I tell myself these writers belong to the majority who forge ahead with a first draft, not rereading or correcting till they get to the end, when they face an equally large task of editing from scratch. I hope so anyway, because my output is tiny compared to these.

With the WIP, Ice Diaries, I've kept track of my daily word total, and it averages just under 400 words a day. I was aiming for 500. But I edit and tweak a great deal as I go, so when I reach The End a book is polished enough to go straight out to the first beta reader. Writing at that rate it's possible to finish a novel in about six months. In theory.

I think there are some lucky prolific writers who are able to write multiple books a year that please their readers - Amanda Hocking is a current example - but they are quite rare. Most of us, if we are honest, take a lot longer to finish a book, and are well advised not to rush the process. But perhaps I'm just making excuses...

What do you think?