SmartEdit: Fine-tune your writing with this new editing software

smart-edit-logoMeet SmartEdit, a new friend for writers.

Darren Devitt, the software developer for SmartEdit, contacted me and asked if I’d use it and write a review.

I’m always on the lookout for good writing tools, so I accepted his offer and downloaded it to my PC.

What is SmartEdit?

SmartEdit is a “first-pass editing tool for creative writers and novelists.” It scans your text for dialog and prose usage, and gives you a list of words, phrases, sentences, and punctuation that may be used incorrectly or that may keep your story from reading as well as it could.

Kind of like having an on-demand editor.

The SmartEdit website makes it clear that is not an app to use in lieu of a human editor. It’s a tool that points out possible errors and misuses, and helps you get one step closer to having your work ready for publication.

20 Individual Checks

SmartEdit scans your writing for your choice of the following:

smart-edit-20-checks
Image from Smart-Edit.com

[Note: Though I never use profanity in my writing, I’m glad SmartEdit will let me know if a word got in somehow.]

And, oh, how easily and quickly you get the results.

I opened my rough draft of a 1,000-word short story, clicked on the “Run Checks” icon, and had the results from all 20 checks in about three seconds.

That got an audible “Wow!” from me.

Example: Repeated Words

This screen shot is from my PC and shows the results of the Repeated Words scan:

smart-edit-screen-shot-5
Screen shot from my PC

When I clicked on “knew,” SmartEdit showed me every instance of the word. Double-clicking the sentence took me to the spot in the story where it occurred. Who knew that I was using “knew” so often?

What’s Missing

Currently, SmartEdit opens RTF files only. That means you’ll have to either save your Microsoft Word document (or any other word processor’s file) in that format or cut and paste your text directly into SmartEdit. UPDATE, September 2014 — SmartEdit released a Microsoft Word Add-in where you can run SmartEdit within Word. 

More disappointing for me is that the current version is Windows only. I do most of my writing on my Mac, so here’s hoping their plan to develop a Mac version this year pans out. The developers are being proactive, though, and offer Mac users a sign-up to be notified when the Mac version is available.

Best Feature

SmartEdit leaves all of the true editing work for you. The detailed lists are generated, but no suggestions are given. You won’t see a pop-up list of options along with scan results. You have to think about and decide what to do with the results. And that’s the smart way to do it, if you want to become a better writer.

I’ve added SmartEdit to my Writers Toolbox page as a recommended tool for new writers.

Free 10-Day Trial

Visit SmartEdit.com to learn more, watch a video, download a free (limited) version, or try out the full version for 10 days.

If you give SmartEdit a try, be sure to let me know what you think.


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6 thoughts on “SmartEdit: Fine-tune your writing with this new editing software

  1. Thanks for the input. I am going to be checking it out. My mind is clearing and no longer in a fog or as I say – re-booting. My thoughts are going back to my writing and this may be just what I need to start up again. I will let you know if I decide to get it and how I like it. Blessings and thank you again for your prayers.

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    1. Patty, I am so glad to hear from you. I know that God is going to use your heartbreak for good, and I’m looking forward to how He does that through your writing. When you’re ready, we’ll be there to read it.

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  2. We are Mac lovers, and each time we receive an update or the suggestion for a check against new problems or viruses, we run the programs during the night while we sleep. Then, as I hear of new programs, new apps or suggestions like yours, I write down the details in a little notebook we keep beside the computer. Occasionally we’ll add a totally new program early, but for the most part we stick to our schedule. I chose the end of Sept. because it’s my birthday, and sometimes a new program (or if we’re getting a new laptop, which is about every 5 years)it’s what I choose for my b-day present.

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  3. Darla, you are a perfect person to explain this software! As a writer, you know what writers need and how a new program will or will not help them.
    This is thorough and specific. I’ve been fairly content with what I’ve been using, but when I update my programs (always the end of Sept.) I might give this a try. I’ve copied down all the information.
    Thanks for looking out for us!

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    1. Well, I’m thankful to Darren for seeking me out and letting me give it a try. And I like your idea of having a scheduled time of the year to update your programs. What’s your process?

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