Tuesday, November 1, 2022

4 Useful Writing Apps

 This week's topic: The writing software/programs/apps I can't live without.

Weeeeeellll, Imma show you just how old I am. {grabs walker, adjusts tennis balls}

  1. MS Word -- once Wordperfect was pried from my cold, collegiate hands and I was forced to learn Word for corporate life, I haven't left it. Despite "improvements" that Microsoft insists I need just to please their stockholders, it's still the most widely used word-processing software app that's readily accepted by editors. Yeah, yeah, I know Google Docs is trying to make fetch happen, but it's not there yet...
    • MS Word "Read Aloud" Feature -- before I send a book to be formatted, I have Word read the entire manuscript to me. Yep. It's the final, final, no-really-final editing pass. I learned the hard way that relying on visual-only review exposes me to the great "feature" of the brain that sees what it thinks should be on the page, not what's actually there. Also, Read Aloud helps catch skipped/missing words and excessive word repetition. E.g. Did my OC just "giggle" six times in the last chapter? ACK!
  2. Merriam-Webster Online -- "You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means." (Princess Bride) From homophones to synonym searches to that word that's on the tip of my tongue (or should it be the tip of my [finger] tips?), it's MW for me. Why this dictionary over the others? 'Cause my editors use it when they send me corrections. I find collaboration easier when working from the same reference source. 
  3. Urban Dictionary -- For us olds, it's sadly necessary for us to verify that what we just heard/read means what the yewts meant for it to mean. Definitions don't always align with Merriam-Webster, since language is a living, evolving thing. I don't tend to be too slang-trendy in my writing, but I like to make sure that certain words/idioms from the last century (I can't believe I just typed that) still mean what they used to mean. *Caution: because this site is open to unvetted public contributions, it contains a lot of cruel, homophobic, racist, misogynistic, etc. definitions. Make sure you have a sea of salt at hand and are wearing your "ugh, humanity" t-shirt when using this site.
  4. Grammarly -- I usually run my manuscript through this twice. First, to catch All The Things that MS Word "Editor" misses before I send it to my professional line and copy editors. Second, to catch post-editing errors because, godsdamnitall, it is absolutely possible to correct a mistake while simultaneously creating a new one. {shakes fist at sky}

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