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This week, I’ve been working with Autocrit on two different works-a fairy tale and adult novel. Writers will try any tool they can to obtain feedback, especially prior to submission to a friend, colleague, editor, spouse, neighbor, or even random passerby on the street. 

This is a tool for handling what I call the void. It’s the moment before giving someone a manuscript for review. You’re worried. Nervous. Unsure. Excited. Glad the first draft is out of the way. You need feedback but aren’t quite ready to go solicit yet.

Tools amaze in what they find. In the future, I might hook up an application to a machine learning service on Azure or Amazon to see what happens. Sounds like a good project, but Autocrit fits the bill for now. The service won’t correct anything for you-spelling, grammar, etc., It points out macro trends. Too many adverbs. Telling and not enough showing. And its analysis can miss or make mistakes-no writing analysis application is perfect.

But as a tool, it probably made me think more about my writing than others on the market. While a Grammarly, Marked2, or Word highlights the problem and gives you a simple solution, this makes you go back and think through your manuscript. I had to go back and review sentence and even paragraph structure on more than a few occasions. 

Yes, it’s expensive, but invaluable in a way. I’ll be curious how long I stay with it as many of the rules could be part of a checklist or just become unnecessary over time. People get better at their craft. Still, it was worth taking for a spin at least for a short while.