I have never been impressed with the idea of using a program to edit your book for you. Editing involves too much creativity to be left up to the mechanical algorithms of a computer program. But Smart-Edit is different. It doesn't edit your work, but what it does do is take the grunt out of the grunt work of copyediting by helping you track down overused and misused words and phrases.
Amazed by the value of this program, I decided to sweep it by the non-Marla mystery I've been working on. Oh, my. Did I realize I'd used the phrase "my cell phone" 23 times in this 67,000 word manuscript? Yes, the program checks for repeated phrases along with repeated words.
You simply can't compile this much information on your own without a great deal of tedious searching and list-making. Even with close attention you will probably miss half of the data SmartEdit can compile for you with a single click... The nice thing about this program is that it's a good teaching resource for new writers who want to learn what to look for as well as what to think about when they are writing in order to get their manuscripts up to professional level.
There is a huge number of applications for writers, and I've tried quite a few over the years. Some are difficult to use, some get in the way of the creative process, and some just don't work the way I want to. SmartEdit is firmly in the category "Very helpful, easy to use programs"... Overall, SmartEdit has made a huge difference to my manuscript … and I suspect it's picked things up that a human editor wouldn't. There is still a place for human editing … getting tenses, points of view and grammar right. But, I shall be using SmartEdit on every piece I write in the future.
With this self-editing program, my writing is tighter. I can find those overused words. It picks out the 'ly' words that sneak in far too often... SmartEdit 3.0 is more robust than the original and easier to use than ever.
SmartEdit leaves all of the true editing work for you. The detailed lists are generated, but no suggestions are given. You won't see a pop-up list of options along with scan results. You have to think about and decide what to do with the results. And that's the smart way to do it, if you want to become a better writer.
[SmartEdit] is also considerably more intuitive than most other editing tools on the market, with a strong focus on pointing out unintentional cases of repetition—frequent sentence-starting phrases, for example—or illuminating inconsistencies in punctuation.
The amount of time that SmartEdit can save is quite remarkable. My own process is now write, paper edit, SmartEdit followed by any other further electronic edits I feel are necessary. Even when I've tested the software on works I've previously edited thoroughly it's picked up on things I have missed. I also feel that it allows you to worry less about your writing up front (that pesky internal censor!) and focus more on getting the words down -- an added benefit I wouldn't have anticipated.
I love SmartEdit. It's the perfect program to help your polish your manuscript. It will definitely be part of my editing process.