Trim Your Prose With These Tools

The Hemingway app nudges and pats your writing into shape with on-screen prompts. I bought the desktop version for the princely sum of $5.00 a while ago. Now it is out with version Two. It’s a free upgrade, which I appreciate.

If you don’t want the desktop version and are happy to use the web version, it’s free.

Have you heard ‘adverbs are nature’s way of telling you you used the wrong verb’?

I recoiled from that when I first heard it. What’s wrong with adverbs? But now I am getting used to looking for stronger verbs.

The Hemingway app homes in on adverbs. So if you are into using them, be prepared to find the ‘offending’ words in your prose highlighted in blue.

Now you have pruned your prose, run it through The Writer’s Diet. I came across this site on the BookBaby blog. It will tell you whether you writing is as tight as you and Hemingway think it is. It has a scale from ‘lean’, through ‘fit & trim’, to ‘needs toning’, to ‘flabby’, and all the way to ‘heart attack’.

The Writer’s Diet also hates when you use too many verbs in a piece of text and it hates an overuse of the words this, that, and there.

As I said, I’ve been using Hemingway for a while, and it has changed my writing style. I use it for pages like ‘Privacy Policy’ and ‘Terms and Conditions’.

They are the kind of pages where the prose can get a bit bogged down and sound too corporate or officious or unfriendly.

And using Hemingway has nudged me gently towards snappier prose. I was worried it would destroy my style or the flow, but it hasn’t.

Then when I have buffed my prose to perfection, I put it into The Writer’s Diet. I remember the first time I ran a piece of my text through its algorithm to see whether it agrees with Hemingway as to how trim my prose is

It wiped the smile off my face and pointed out where all the flab is – too many verbs and too many indefinite pronouns for its taste.

Let me know how you get on with these tools.

4 thoughts on “Trim Your Prose With These Tools

  1. Tried Hemingway. It is good but it gets bowled over non English names and places and automatically places these sentences in very hard. Useful for short articles but to use it for long books say about 70 thousand words….. I doubt one would ever get past it. BTW the score was 12 and said OK. What highest score you got after best efforts.

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