Autocrit is an online based editing tool. The keyword there is editing. And autocrit for self-editing is nothing less than brilliant.
It is not a word processor. It is not there to help you write or create. It's not a name generator. It doesn't have tips and tricks to help you edit.
It is an editing tool.
When I finished my manuscript for Heir of Elendri: Destiny's Lure, my word count was well over 400,000. I know, right?
You might notice — it's not published yet 😉
Now, a little backstory. I started Heir of Elendri: Destiny's Lure back in 2004. More than twelve years ago. At that time, I was still a sophomore in college with plans of moving on to a PhD in Medieval History and using that to teach history. I wrote the story just for me. I had no real plans of turning it into a novel.
That is until one day I did. And it was going to take work. I mean, it was over 400,000 words! And not all of them were good. Ayden Morgen, a good friend of mine, volunteered to read through parts of it for me. She pointed out my biggest mistakes: passive voice, showing instead of telling, using unnecessary words.
Onward and upward, into the land of editing.
I wanted to quit. I mean it. Editing this monster was a nightmare. Even with the awesome advice Ayden gave me — it just seemed impossible. I mean, sure, command+F helped me find every instance of “that” and “just” — but it still meant digging through 400,000 words.
Needless to say, Heir of Elendri: Destiny's Lure has been going back and forth from “in the works” to “on the backburner.” The number of times I need to step back and take a fresh look at that manuscript is off the charts.
Then, by a miracle, a couple years ago I came across the amazing Autocrit.
Autocrit saved me and my novel.
This website has saved me. And Heir of Elendri. It zeros in on grammar and sentence structure, pacing, dialogue tags, misused words, overused words… You name the mistake, Autocrit seeks it out and highlights it for you. Then you just make your changes, and copy-and-paste it back.
With the free account, you're limited to the length of the manuscript you can upload, your reports are a little limited — but the information you receive is still helpful. But the paid account. Let me tell you something. Paying for a yearly subscription to this site if you are a full time author will save you hundreds of dollars per book on editing.
And as a ghostwriter, I am now pumping out close to seven or eight novels per year. So, on with this list:
- Removes you from the story. Many times, when you're editing, you can skip over parts of the story. It's natural — you know what's happening. You know exactly what's going on because you dreamt it up, wrote it, and probably have read and changed that paragraph a dozen times. This doesn't happen with autocrit. The highlighting feature pulls you out of the story and lets you focus on the parts that need improving.
- Focused mistakes. You can choose to highlight everything, or just one mistake at a time. Want to focus on passive voice? You can turn off all other reports and highlights and just run those checks. Need to check for pacing? You can run that as a separate report. With Autocrit, you no longer have to look at your manuscript like one big monster — but you can see the steps you need to take to get done.
- Genre-specific comparisons. We all know there are certain things included in romance novels than, say, science fiction novels. Horror books contain different elements than erotica. With Autocrit, you can set your novel genre (or get pretty darn close) and run the reports with standards specific to that genre.
- Educating yourself. You can bet that as I used autocrit for my novel, many of the mistakes I used, I don't repeat. That's part of the reason I can pump out seven or eight novels in a year! Autocrit does more than simply highlight a mistake. It will explain to you why it is a mistake and help you learn techniques to avoid repeating it.
- Saves you time. Working with editors can sometimes seem tedious. I know that the novels I edit sometimes end up passing from the author to me and back several times before we're both happy with it. Autocrit saves you a lot of that.
- Common errors. Autocrit also catches things word processors don't always catch, like homonyms. Whether or not you wrote peek instead of peak. Yes, word processors are getting better at catching these things, but everytime I run my manuscripts through, Autocrit always catches something they missed.
- Saves you money. This is a big deal. One question people ask me all the time is how much does an editor charge. And the answer is: how much work are you about to make them go through? Autocrit helps you jumpstart the editing process by making it easier for you to remove yourself (and your bias) from the story and make necessary changes. By having that done before sending the manuscript off to an editor, you save both time and money.
- Better than grammar check. Can you name off every colloquialism or cliche in your book? Autocrit can. And getting rid of some or all of these tropes will strengthen your writing and your point of view.
- An unbiased critique. Good writers have critique partners, alpha readers, and maybe even beta readers. And that's great. But Autocrit offers an unbiased critique that isn't afraid to hurt your feelings. For new authors who might not have a strong team of readers put together yet, this is invaluable.
- It makes editing more enjoyable. When did you ever think you would see the day when an author would say “I enjoy editing…” Although, enjoy might be a strong word. I no longer dread editing. I no longer stare at my manuscript and wonder where to start. I no longer feel lost. Which means I can power through it faster and feel more confident with the results sooner. And that is something I enjoy!