Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Don't Do This

I recently stumbled across something that still has me confuggled.  There's a writer, maybe more than one, who listed their editor as Grammarly in the front matter of their published novel. 

Now, Grammarly is awesome.  And very helpful.  But it's NOT an editor.  Oh, it does have software you can use to help clean up your emails and your FB posts and whatnot, but that does not, and should not, take the place of an actual EDITOR. 

As, I guess, was proven by the poor quality of said book.

For the love of all you find holy, don't do this.  Even if you use Grammarly, don't list them as your editor.  Anymore than you should list PhotoShop as your cover artist.  It's a tool.  Not a person.  If you're using Grammarly to the exception of all other editors, than YOU are the editor.  And if you are using it to the exception of all else, then you need to rethink your writing strategy.  Seriously.

I get that a lot of people can't afford editing.  It's not cheap.  Hell, I'm working a side job to pay for editing (and cover art).  But for godsakes, it's necessary.  Unless you are a goddess of all things edity yourself, and even then, you need someone else's eyes to point out things you might miss.  If you can't afford an editor, find friends and acquaintances, even family, with good English skills to proofread for you.

No program can take the place of human eyes and a human brain.  Not yet, anyway.  Hell, even with human eyes AND programs, errors still hide in the words, furtively screwing with the perfection of your manuscript.  Several were found in SU after it went live.  I fixed them, but like gremlins, they found a way to hide in there.

Beyond proofreading, though, there's the big editing.  Finding flaws in the thinking, catching timeline issues, pointing out when the character you renamed twice is called Tom, Tim, and Tony is the same manuscript.  Catching the fact that Tom has green eyes on page one, but brown eyes on page one-hundred and one.  And Tony who started out lefthanded is signing something with his right hand.  Or that Tim has a cockney accent, but he was born and raised in Dublin. 

I guarantee there isn't a program out there doing that.  (If you know of one, let me know, eh?  I might use it as an alternate editing tool. Having another one can't hurt, eh?)

To sum up, don't do this.  It hurts your writing, it hurts your readers, and it hurts us all.  Do your damnedest to make your manuscript the best it can be. 

'Nuff said.  Let's hope I don't have to beat this dead horse again any time soon.


  1. What you said, totally! It's like using spell check and calling it a day.! I understand the confuggling. I feel sorry for the horse because I doubt, with the proliferation of self-publishing, anybody can toss up a book. For those of us who hone our craft, who care about actual wordsmithing are in the minority these days. Makes me sad. :/

    1. Yep, sad... depressed... frustrated beyond reason... Those things. But we have to put all that aside and forge ahead. Even when it feels like we're walking through tar. One foot in front of the other.