Paul Deines

Using Grammarly as an Independent Writer

Using Grammarly as an Independent Writer

By Paul Deines

We’re all human, right? Those of us who make a living filling blank pages with ideas and stories contend with our fallibility all day.

I happily acknowledge that my writing isn’t perfect. These days, I produce an average of fifty-thousand words per month from my clients. At that volume, I only have time to give a piece a quick revision and a final read-through before submitting. Occasionally, I’ll call in a fellow writer to read through something for an extra bit of oversight.

Notwithstanding these limitations, I want to provide the best possible work for my clients. So, the Grammarly application has become invaluable to my writing process.

What is Grammarly?

For those unfamiliar, Grammarly is a free app that functions as a digital proofreader and editor. It flags spelling, grammar and punctuation issues. It locates redundant and overwrought phrasing, too.

I tend to write fast and dirty, then clean up later. This app is a lifesaver in that regard. Essentially, it outsources the proofreading that I know I will miss late at night when I’m on deadline.

How is Grammarly different from a normal spelling-and-grammar check?

All decent word processors come with a spell-check and grammar tool. However, I can attest that Grammarly is far more sensitive to the kinds of numb-skulled errors writers make a hundred times a day.

I’m especially atrocious when it comes to hyphenating two-word phrases like put-upon or, well, two-word. Grammarly always catches this. I constantly type form instead of from. For some reason, I tend to type to instead of the. The app locates all of these without fail.

Plus, its interface is amazingly clean and intuitive. You can easily scan for red-lined errors and with one-click, substitute its suggested edit.

Also, beyond the examples written above, Grammarly flags passive voice, overly intricate sentences, word choice concerns, just to name a few examples. Granted, you must pay for a premium membership to receive suggested fixes for these issues. I much prefer reviewing the flags, which can tip me off to unwieldy writing I need to revise.

An Important Tool in Your Belt

Grammarly isn’t perfect, of course. I do most of my writing in Scrivener, and currently, there’s no plug-in for that platform. So, I either copy my text over to the app, then make corrections in Scrivener; or I do my proofing after I export to Word.

One pet peeve is that it defaults to including the Oxford comma, which I almost always choose to omit.

But these are minor quibbles.

After all, Grammarly is not a catch-all fix. It’s a tool.

I always give my work a read-through after running Grammarly. As we all know, finding typos and grammatical errors is just the tip of the iceberg when you’re revising. You need a human eye to detect subtext and tone. The app might catch an errant note, but only you can fine-tune the melody.

The humbling fact that every writer must accept is that no amount of diligence or raw intellect can guarantee a perfect draft if you’re the only person reviewing it. Grammarly gives you a second pair of eyes.

(As a final note, I ran this short article through Grammarly, and it identified six errors.)

About Paul Deines:

Paul Deines is a New York-based writer focusing on beer and culture, sometimes together and sometimes separately. His work has appeared recently in SR-Mag, Brew Studs, and Hop Culture.

As a freelancer for hire, he ghostwrites novels, crafts marketing copy and contributes dialogue for video games and other digital content.

An occasional playwright, Paul’s plays have been performed both online and on stage around the country. In his spare time, he enjoys experimental cooking, classic cinema, watching football, attending the theatre, and constructing playthings for his daughter.

You can read more of his work at his website, The Curiograph (thecuriograph.com) or follow him on Twitter @thecuriograph.

You can also read recent articles by Paul Deines by visiting the links below:

www.hopculture.com

wearebrewstuds.com

Ashton Rice

How I Define My Target Reader and Why

How I Define my Target Reader and Why

By Ashton Rice

Something all writers should seriously consider and put time into is developing and
getting to know target readers. Target readers will grow your career and should be seen as one of
the most essential components of the writing profession. These people are the ones who will take interest in your books/writing and need to be considered every step of the way.

How I define a target reader:

Defining a target reader can take a while, as these populations can and do tend to fluctuate. There are many ways to go about this though. Social media is a great way to see potential target readers. Active social media use is often rewarded with an increased following.

Show samples of work on Twitter to see who likes the content or retweets it. Twitter is definitely where the online writing world resides. LinkedIn is also another great way to analyze a target audience whilst writing a book or project.

The beauty of being able to follow publishers and see the content they post can be used for even an independent writer. See what kind of people like publishers who inspire you and conduct research on the label’s books. You’ll be able to take an educated guess at who may enjoy your content by doing so. Asking friends and family to participate as beta readers is also a great way to determine what kind of people may take interest in your work.

Beta Readers  are individuals you most likely know very well, and it is an easy way to project who may be a future fan of your work. There is no one way to define how to find a target readership, but it simply takes time and engagement with supporters and potential readers.

Why it matters:

Some of you may ask why finding a target reader is important. Well, to keep selling books successfully, it would help to have solidified a following. A writer can’t continue creating new material if they are still in the hole from previous unsuccessful projects. Establishing a target reader means a writer can focus on catering to these individuals and make the read at least worth their while.

Not to say you write fanfictions for all of your supporters, but rather you include what your target reader responds to for repeat appeal. Remember, for a writer, the reader is what stands between a job and unemployment. A target reader is to a writer what an investor is to the stock market.

These readers should be regarded as one of the most important aspects of any writer’s career. Next time you begin to write or get ready to tap the keyboard, think about who you write for and why. Think about what you can offer them through your writing. Make sure you invest time into figuring out who your work clicks with and who it potentially can reach. A target readership is a collective that will keep a writer paid and employed, so nurturing this group should be treated as delicately as the craft of writing itself.

About Ashton Rice:

As a sequential art major out of SCAD, Ashton began writing as an intern editing for The Borgen Project. He learned valuable experience as an editor and writer while taking on this role, and discovered a passion for writing and sharing information and ideas through written language.

Ashton now writes for SOLRAD Magazine and Write-On e-Publishing. His passion for comics still persists, and he continues to write and illustrate his own comics while studying up and coming alternative artists for reviews and interviews for the SOLRAD Magazine. Ashton favors writing science fiction as well as contemporary fiction in his personal work.

Follow Aston Rice on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/ashy.rice.art/

Malik Sharrieff

Writing Effective Fiction

Fiction writing

Fiction is writing that includes imaginary characters, events and/or settings created by the writer. A fiction writer should be an extensive reader. The writer must read fiction not only from the type he/she prefers to write, but also the types in which he/she has not explored.

Types of Fiction Writing

Traditionally there are two types of fiction writing:

Category– It’s also referred as ‘genre’, and in this type of stories we can categorize distinct themes in fiction. Examples are: science, westerns, adventure, historical, romance, erotica, suspense, fantasy, mystery, and war stories.

Mainstream-These stories are aimed at the widest possible audience and typically deal with most aspects of modern life including relationships, careers, and the search for success and fulfillment.

Elements of effective fiction writing:

Theme – Theme is the main idea or meaning behind a story. It is a theoretical refinement of the story. A clear theme makes a story successful.

Characters – Characters are the main effective elements in any story. Most stories consist of experience or events of people and some consists of animals, spirits or even inanimate objects. Each new character adds a new dimension to the story, so characters should be introduced early in the story. The more often a character is mentioned or appears the more significance the reader will attach to the character.

Plot – Plot is the skeleton form of a story that holds the entire story together. It is the related series of events that are arranged to form a story. It usually consists of a conflict, climax and resolution. The plot also may include subplots that are part of or subordinate to the main plot. The plots and subplots are broken into scenes, which are pieces of the story showing the action of one event.

Setting – It includes the place and time in which the story takes place. The setting should be described in specifics to make the story seems real. The setting of the story should have atmosphere, mood and the limitations on the characters.

Style – Style is the writer’s use of the language. A clear, concise and precise writing attracts the reader. A combination of good story and good writing makes a fiction writer successful.

Dialogue – The dialogue is the speech of characters. The form of dialogue should be varied to keep the reader interested. Dialogue should be used to develop character or to advance the story.

These elements provide writers with a standard guideline and sense of organization in their fiction. Fiction writers utilize these elements to effect their readers’ perceptions of their writing.

Improve your skills

Fiction writing ability does not come naturally to everyone. Fiction writing can be a difficult career.  It requires hard work with an emphasis on creativity, hours of revision and editing before completing a manuscript. But the act of creating great works of fiction can have many unexpected rewards.

Fiction writing helps to develop:
  • Creativity and Sense of Imagination
  • Writing Talent
  • Networking
  • Self-promotion
  • Working Individually
  • Determination and Competitive Nature

Feel free to comment or ask questions below, or discuss what well written fiction looks like to you.

Until next time, keep writing!

~Malik

P.S.:

If you have any questions, shoot us a note at the contact us page.

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