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Grammarly, or the words I really seem to love

Note: No, this post isn't sponsored by Grammarly. I wish I was a big enough deal to get sponsorships.

Creativity has been at an all-time high the last few weeks. I have completely rewritten the ending of Sapling so that my protagonist is present in the action. I have also fixed a few plot points that just weren't working including tossing a whole character into the burn pile. Know what sounds romantic but is almost impossible to casually toss into the second half of a limited third-person series? Love letters. They're gone now and have been replaced by a bonsai tree. This makes sense, trust me. I'm calling this rewrite Draft 1.5 and I love it.

I have also received comments on two cover-to-cover beta reads of Acorn that have been incredibly helpful. The consensus seems to be that the book is in good shape with just a few things to tighten up. I did this tightening up over the past several days during a trip to the Outer Banks.

Beach vacation: pretty and productive

Then today, back at home but with several days before I'm due to return to work, I decided to try Grammarly. WOW. I have heard about Grammarly through work and read about it online, but I am extremely arrogant and figured it couldn't possibly help me. How wrong I was. I only used the free version, but it caught several mistakes that cropped up throughout both manuscripts including:

  • Typos, most commonly missing or misused words

  • Excessive commas (I love commas)

  • Missing hyphens or compound words

  • The insane number of times the word really appeared in both manuscripts

I accepted probably three-quarters of Grammarly's suggestions. Its insistence that I ditch most of the reallys made me think about other useless adverbs or other words that might be plaguing my books. I decided to do a second pass through both of them for:

  • Really

  • Actually

  • Apparently

  • Instead

  • And my worst offender, seem

Between the two books, I cut, I kid you not, more than 200 instances of the word seem in all its forms. Mind you, this is my fifth draft of Acorn and it's been through at least five beta readers. It's an invisible word, but getting rid of it and leaving just the verbs that carry actual meaning strengthened the writing. Ditching more than half of the instances of the other words in the list didn't hurt either. I may not even notice they're gone during my final review, but I think the books will be better for it.

Now off to do my first cover-to-cover edit of Sapling, which, if history is any indicator, will be the first of at least five. But who's counting?

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