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:
[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:
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?
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.
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.