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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Online crit tool

   
Author Topic: Online crit tool
Reziac
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Here's something that's useful for seeing what habits your writing has:

http://www.editminion.com/

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MattLeo
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I tried it. It liked my writing, but it flagged me with a caution for using the passive voice. Unfortunately, the software doesn't seem to know what the passive voice is, all the "passive voice" sentences it identified were actually past imperfect.

For example in the sentence "She didn't like what she was hearing," the software incorrectly flagged "was hearing" as passive.

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Owasm
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Fun to use. Once it's out of beta and can do more words, I'd certainly be interested in running my work through it. I agree with MattLeo, that you have to take some of the observations with a grain of salt since it's built on algorithms.
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Meredith
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Yeah, the passive voice thing needs work. Interesting though.
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genevive42
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Actually pretty cool as long as you understand moderation. I had one cliche, 'on the rocks', except I wasn't using it in reference to a drinks, but had someone focusing 'on the rocks' she was running over to avoid injury.

It's a good way to catch repetition and make sure that if you use a weak word, you mean it.

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MattLeo
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The algorithm missed a sentence where I deliberately used two cliches back-to-back for comic effect, although admittedly the second cliche would be difficult for a text oriented algorithm to spot:

quote:
Kate's blood had been boiling, but the sound of that voice froze it instantly.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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quote:
Originally posted by MattLeo:
I tried it. It liked my writing, but it flagged me with a caution for using the passive voice. Unfortunately, the software doesn't seem to know what the passive voice is, all the "passive voice" sentences it identified were actually past imperfect.

For example in the sentence "She didn't like what she was hearing," the software incorrectly flagged "was hearing" as passive.

[Roll Eyes]

The program is only as correct as the programmer is knowledgeable.

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Pyre Dynasty
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Apparently its rules were written by freshman basic composition teachers. (Oh dear, I used were!)

Edited to add: I ran my latest blog post through it. It didn't tell me anything I didn't already know, but it's pretty nice to see it all colored like that. I know that I use intransitive "is" sentences too much (which it flagged as passive.)

I never really thought of Given as a preposition before. Not that I have any real problem with ending a sentence with one.

[ February 03, 2013, 01:42 AM: Message edited by: Pyre Dynasty ]

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extrinsic
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High school freshmen composition teachers.

I have trained in and taught college freshman English composition. Mechanical style is not heavily emphasized. Ethos, logos, pathos, kairos, decorum, creative expression, organization and content, compelling argumentation or critical analysis, clarity, accessibility, intent, and meaning and revision are prioritized in contemporary college freshman composition coursework. All of which no algorithm can evaluate, nor can a more robust grammar and style checking software like WordPerfect's Grammatik or Microsoft Word's Grammar Checker.

And no such software of any kind may evaluate subtext or figurative meaning, nor symbolism or imagery or voice. These latter five are connective tissues that synergistically enhance written word expression. The whole is greater than a sum of its parts. A software algorithm is only able to evaluate parts and in a very few cases sums.

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Reziac
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I saw the same problems with it, especially its notion that any use of "was" means passive voice. But it's useful for flagging overuse of some particular word or structure.

I ran several chunks of my stuff thru it, and it was interesting to compare results. It was a bit happier with my newer stuff (well, it's better, so it should be! [Smile]

Any such tool will have difficulties and drawbacks, not only the limits of the programmer but also the limits of mechanical judgment. Still, as a quick-and-dirty evaluator, it's not bad.

BTW the programmer is open to suggestions for improvement (it's still in beta).

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extrinsic
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I wonder how many wordprocessor users know they can choose degrees of grammar and style check and select options, like informal to strict and formal, choose maximum number of prepositional phrases, ignore passive voice, check parallelism coordination, commonly musused words, number of nouns in a string, etc. Far more powerful than online analytics tools.
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MattLeo
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I don't use grammar checkers any longer, but when I did, I found them more useful in identifying problem sentences than diagnosing those sentences.

I think that's because the more complicated a sentence is, the more likely it is to get flagged. All other things being equal, several simple sentences are usually better than one complex one. I'm a big fan of Victorian writing (e.g. Thomas DeQuincey) but complex syntax doesn't work for most readers these days.

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Reziac
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Having conceived a dislike for 'em way back in Grammatik's era, I never used word processor type grammar checkers... I have my own automated grammar checker which was implanted in my brain by 12 years of intensive English classes (required in my school system). [Smile]

The ones intended for writers are geared a little differently, far as I've observed -- more toward "writing sins" and less toward "bad grammar".

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Osiris
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For fun I entered one of the first short stories I'd written, as well as the most recent story I'd written. All green on both stories.

The first story I'm certain will never be published, while the second, I'm almost certain will be.

Show me a piece of software that can tell good story-telling from bad and we'll have a winner. [Smile]

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AndrewR
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If someone can write a piece of software that can tell good story-telling from bad, it'll start writing stories, and we'll all be out of a job! [Frown]
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