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Scrivener’s Shot Gun Wedding With Pro-Writing Aid

Scrivener’s Shot Gun Wedding With Pro-Writing Aid published on 11 Comments on Scrivener’s Shot Gun Wedding With Pro-Writing Aid

Shotgun wedding My most useful writing tools are Scrivener and Pro-Writing Aid. Most writers have heard of Scrivener, a powerful word processing program that orders and organizes the screaming voices in your writer’s head, helping you to pump out your stories. There are too many features in this program to write about, though the number of features is what turns some writers away.

But having found the most productive way (for me) to use Scrivener, I won’t write in anything else.

Pro-Writing Aid is an online program that helps you with the grunt work of editing your stories. Want a swift and sure way to edit your punctuation? Find the repeat words in your stories? Keep track of overly long sentences? Tell you how many filler words you are using? Pro-Writing Aid does it and does it well. The yearly sixty bucks I spend for it is well worth the money.

The only problem with Pro-Writing Aid was that there was no interface between it and Scrivener. You shifted between your text and the analysis to make your edits. This was a long, slow and boring process.

You could convert your Scrivener file to a Word file, then upload that into Google Docs which after some initial fiddling you connect with your Pro-Writing Aid license where Google Docs allows you to use it.

The problem with the Google Docs interface was that it took long to move from edit to edit, with Google Docs doing some funky voodoo thing in the background to take the edits. Sometimes Google Docs saved the edits and sometimes it didn’t. Plus if you wanted to turn your Word Doc back into a Scrivener file to use its e-book producing component, well, that was a headache too. Yeah, that doesn’t work for me.

People started writing Scrivener requesting a Pro-Writing Aid add-in to it marvelous program. I even added my own plea in the Scrivener forums:

…the Scrivener-Pro-Writing Aid marriage is important to me, and I’m sure to other writers. You see, Scrivener helps you write the words by helping you organize your writing. (Thank you very much for this awesome program. My productivity has shot through the roof.) Pro-Writing Aid helps you as writing guru Chuck Wendig would say “make the words not suck.” I have tried all of the online editing programs and Pro-Writing Aid is my program of choice.

It seems each of you have one half of a terribly powerful tool for wordsmiths.

As a professional ghostwriter I do not have the time to export between the programs to get my work out. Time spent not writing is literally money taken out of my pocket.

Please, please, please do what it takes to get this done.

But the folks at Scrivener seemed, ah, reluctant to do this. Pro-Writing Aid however came up with its own version to work with Scrivener and is in the process of Beta testing it.

I am one of the Beta Testers, and I tell you folks, this is how writing is meant to happen.

Now caveats. Because it is a beta program, it’s interface isn’t fancy and you don’t get the comprehensive report that the online version of Pro-Writing Aid produces. You still need to export to the online program get one one the reports like this:

ProWriting Aid Sample

No. Like all shotgun weddings, the bride doesn’t always wear a pretty dress. In the Beta version you get an interface that looks like this.

ProWriting Aid Integration

It may not be pretty, but it works. You go through which section you want to look at, say grammar, and make your changes in this file. When you save and close it, your changes goes back into your Scrivener file with your formatting intact.

This program has sped my productively by double at least. While you can’t get around editing, at least you can produce a very clean second draft to hand to your editor.

And that’s a beautiful thing.

Thanks Pro-Writing Aid!

Photo published by a Creative Commons License as assigned by Flickr user Jansen Miller

11 Comments

Beth,

I’ve downloaded the Beta version and I love it when it works. It’s gotten to where it will not save every time. Sometimes it does, other times I get an error message. Have you encountered this?

Yes, and it panic inducing when it happens. I thought I was having the problem because I’m using an older (meaning since it is six years old practically the stone-age) Mac. Indeed, a email to Chris to Pro-Writing Aid confirmed that the program was meant to work with the newer Mac OS (rats.) The trick I discovered it to edit only one chapter at a time. Hitting “save” at the top of the bar doesn’t always work, (but I do anyway out of habit) but when you move onto the next chapter a dialog box opens asking if you want to save the chapter you just worked on.(Yes, yes, yes, please save my work.) When you close at your final edit you should get the last dialog box and you are home free.

But if you want to report this as a bug you can email hello@prowritingaid.com which is their support desk.

I just had to report a pretty horrific bug (by the way, I test software/firmware for a living so I pretty much only have to show up and something will fall apart). I made a lot of changes to my text based on what Pro Writing Aid was showing me and when I reopened my Scrivener file, it had taken all of the changes, mashed them together, centered them, and threw in some numbers (I’d had some in the text) and diacritics just to make it interesting. Here is a sample:

He picked up the business carda darhe ‘let’s see just how customer-servi-e oriented yure. ingMorganiagnd ,Tobe oo entto rm –‘dcome -ar’-igyaod.ted hilefreth.
R to care, yan folled .Tehedlhtsstreake coss a,a- windowshung On the second floor, a lybrokn bbb he wso athreatenTherbeen foredto eed ner hereliz left andMogcoud’t uess ed ‘d With growi snsefrelief, h released thenH il ing-bree,uld rerfo

Yep. No idea. This is on a PC, by the way. I don’t love the Word plug-in for PC because it lacks tool-tips, is pretty ugly, and since I write in Scrivener, it’s not entirely useful. Thank god Scrivener makes multiple back-ups. Unfortunately, all of the changes I made are now lost. I’m sure my final manuscript would have been brilliant. *sigh*

Anyway, just wanted to give a heads-up and tell everybody it’s be a good idea to rename your working file when using a beta-version of anything.

Wow! That’s pretty horrible. I can’t speak to ProWriting Aid on a PC because I use a Mac, but wholly bees jezus! Make sure you drop a line to support@prowritingaid.com and let them know. Like you, I’m just a user of the software and have no connection with the company.

I have noted however that when your try to edit anything that has an em dash will end up with that diacritic shows up with a lovely upside down question mark as well. I don’t understand why the em dash is such a problem for Scrivener and Pro-Writing Aid to handle but it is. Good point of renaming your main file before editing. I give that advice as well. Copy the item, rename it and work in that version.

Hope your rewriting hits fewer snags from now on,

Beth

I’m so glad to find your review. I was hesitant to download though the desire for this “marriage” has been close to my writer’s heart for years. I have downloaded the beta and am very happy so far with what I have been able to do. I only wish I had found your review months ago.So far no problems. Saved one edited chapter and everything transferred over. Thanks for the review!

I concur with everything you stated about ProWritingAid. Considering how much professional editors charge, there is no better program for writers.

It’s a great way to get the cleanest copy you can. With that and a good beta reader you can produce a nearly flawless document. There is no substitute for a good editor that you trust with your document, but we don’t always have the luxury of obtaining one.

Go ahead! Say it!

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