“Magaly dear,” he said, “Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it—wholeheartedly—and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.”
I pulled on the lapels of his tweed jacket, looked him in the eye, and told him, “I know, I know, darling Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, but mama never said the murdering would be this hard!”
Fine, so that exchange was probably the result of a coffee-induced hallucination—a common affliction among writers—but its nature doesn’t negate the trueness of its meaning: the Muse can run wild during the creation of a first draft, but when editing time arrives she needs to let Reason and Skill hold the pen… and the darling-murdering knife, too.
Self-editing is difficult work, especially when writing under a deadline. There is just not enough time to let a piece rest before having to revise it. The process gets easier when we find someone else who can read our work and offer feedback. Grammarly is a digital proofreading tool that could help a writer get rid of the rougher bits of a first draft before handing it over to a human proofreader.
Before I share screenshots that show how Grammarly works, I wish everyone to keep in mind that Grammarly is a tool. It can’t do more than what it was created to do. In my case, its strength lies in the fact that it forces me to pay attention to details, and it makes me question the reasons behind certain stylistic choices. I will use Grammarly’s review of Thorn in Red to explain what I mean:
1. Grammarly knows that “indefinite pronouns are always singular.” But no one told it that the pronoun in question appears in a line of dialogue, or that believable dialogue usually involves flawed sentences.
2. If the following line had not been dialogue, I would have phrased the information differently.
3. I’m sharing this one because I was wondering if the program meant to say “Possible ‘s use error.” What do you think? “Impossible ‘s use error” doesn’t make sense to me.
4. The grammatical explanation is accurate, but I wanted that comma (that bit of resistance) between striking with the blade and driving it home. Can you feel it?
5. Grammarly doesn’t seem to care for the names of any of my characters… ;-(
6. It will do what it was built to do. It didn’t say it was wrong, just that it was a common mistake.
7. This one is a mystery to me. Grammarly offers different settings: General, Creative, Academic... I used the Creative setting. I don’t understand the need for the “Academic” suggestion.
8. Great thing to know if this had been an academic paper. Still, the suggestion is useful to me. Bran babbles when he is nervous, so it is nice to know that he is acting like himself.
9. Grammarly does not suffer foolish generic words…
…nope, it does not suffer fools.
Grammarly can’t replace the experience and intuition of a dedicated human proofreader, but it could help a writer murder a good number of irksome darlings before showing the work to outside eyes.
Guess what, my Wicked Luvs? Five of you will get to explore Grammarly for three months at no cost. How cool is that? I think it’s awesome. Here is what you need to do to enter the giveaway:
Answer this Question – How would you benefit from a three months subscription to Grammarly?
For Extra Entries – Worth one entry each.
2. Elaborate and/or ask a question concerning any of the points made on this post.
3. Be a Wicked Darling. Follow Pagan Culture.
* This giveaway ends on September 27th at 10:59 pm EST.
* The winners will be chosen using the ancient scientific method of throwing every participant’s name in a cauldron and selecting one without looking. Names will be announced the next day.
Good luck, my Wicked Luvs ;-)
Good luck, my Wicked Luvs ;-)