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The rest of the report provided lots of new and interesting data for me, too. For example, the scan identified 14 different words I used that were either profanity or potentially offensive (all intentional and fine with me, but good to know in the event I want to put together a PG version of the ms to use as a school seminar teaching tool.) My adverb usage report was nine pages long, and while I don’t follow that Absolutely No Adverbs Whatsoever rule that seems a bit excessive, I need to take a hard look at my adverb usage during the final edit of the ms and see if I can trim that down. I also started 304 sentences with She, 264 with The, and 253 with I; it surprised me that those were my top three sentence starters. I put a space in front of a dash 24 different times (typing style preference of mine, and one that most of my editors tolerate) and made one punctuation error by putting a space before a comma (which I do need to fix). If you’d like to see a copy of the full scan report, I’ve uploaded it in .pdf format here:

SmartEdit is ideal for me to use as part of my full manuscript edit; I’ll be working it into my process by running a scan as soon as I finish the first complete draft. I also intend to use it to work on eliminating some of my weed word bad habits as well as simplifying the creation of my own style sheets and foreign language glossaries.

The one major issue I have with SmartEdit is that it’s only available for Windows; for now you Mac and Linux users are out of luck (the developer notes that a Mac version may be possible in the future). I have Windows, so it doesn’t affect me, but I know plenty of writers who are devoted to their Macs. Since this program is geared specifically toward us, I think it should be available to all writers, not just the Windows users.

The freeware version of SmartEdit was a useful editing tool; the pro version is even better, and I think every serious writer should take it for a test drive. You simply can’t compile this much information on your own without a great deal of tedious searching and list-making. Even with close attention you will probably miss half of the data SmartEdit can compile for you with a single click. What the program doesn’t replace is your internal editor; it’s still up to you to analyze the scan results, make the appropriate story decisions, and apply that to your manuscript. The nice thing about this program is that it’s a good teaching resource for new writers who want to learn what to look for as well as what to think about when they are writing in order to get their manuscripts up to professional level.

Bottom line, is it worth the purchase price? I say yes, absolutely.


This article first appeared January 15, 2012 on the blog Paperback Writer. Reprinted with permission from the author. 

Business Briefs

Cravebox Promotions

Cravebox has worked with St. Martin’s Press, Harlequin, Random House, and Hachette. Founder Kitty Kolding says two more publishers are in process of signing, and four others are in development. St. Martin’s Press sponsored the first book campaign in October 2012, signing up for1,000 boxes. Cravebox reported the campaign reached 1.3 million and an overall 41 million impressions (mining social media). That campaign featured Kaya McLaren’s How I Came to Sparkle Again with strawberry licorice, a nut mix, and a charm bracelet.

The 200,000 Cravebox members receive info of current boxes offering that are also advertised online. Consumers enter a drawing for the boxes. Cravebox looks at a contestant’s demographics. This leads to looking at group interest in that gift box. Winners receive the box free and are later contacted to enlist their help in advertising the product. Social media sites—Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest—are part of the process.

Publishers Weekly  

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