It’s Not Criticism…It’s Editing!

               One of the difficulties of being a writer is dealing with readers…who find mistakes, typos, errors, or logical gaffs in one’s writing. The average writer knows in her heart that she’s not perfect (just probably better than all her siblings), but facing the music that you have errors in your story is a virtual stab to the heart.

                But the sad truth is that all writers make mistakes. That’s why there are so many computer-based editing programs available on the market. These programs are great. They catch most spelling errors (when they’re obvious), a lot of grammatical errors, and sometimes some contextual errors. I use those programs as a first pass for finding errors.

                However, they don’t often catch homonyms (scene vs seen), dialects, deliberate speech patterns, and a host of minor grammatical structures that have gone out of vogue.

                Nothing quite replaces a human being as an editor. Yes, the human, frail thing that he or she is, brings their own host of deficiencies, but humans still can find errors that even the best automated editing program can’t catch. This is particularly true for fantasy and science fiction writers, writers of ethnic-based content, and even many technical writers who find that their specialized vocabulary often comes into conflict with our Earth-based languages. The solution to this is to use a program that allows you to add vocabulary to its dictionary. Yet even this can backfire. I have often inadvertently added a misspelled word when trying to add a deliberate alternate misspelled word. Yes, I am one of those frail, deficient-prone humans.

                There are AI programs that might get around this. Wordtunes. This program allows you to improve specific writing, line by line, paragraph by paragraph. As near as I can tell, the program doesn’t necessarily find errors as provide alternative ways of saying what you want. I haven’t explored some of the other AI programs to see if they can help with elimination of all writing errors, so if any of you have experience with these programs, I would love to hear about it.

                So far, no auto-correct program, no spell-check program, no grammar-checking program, and certainly no AI program can yet do what I most value from an editor.

                And that is, not just point out where I made an error, but point out where my writing is either good…or bad. I just have to remember, it’s not criticism…it’s editing.

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