2015-07-12

Grammarly

This week’s post is coming to you from Georgia. I’ve been on vacation this past week visiting my dad in South Carolina and then my daughter in Georgia. Due to the driving and visiting, I have not added a single word to Dragonverse Origins. I have, however, made some minor changes to a short story I wrote called Ship’s Log. I was originally planning on sending this story into a contest until I looked at the prizes they were giving out. First prize is a copy of Scrivener – already have that. So now, I’m thinking of sending it out to a magazine. This will be my first attempt at this – I might be asking my author friends who do this for a living for some help.

We had one incident on the way down. While traveling through the mountains we encountered what at first looked like a large rock in the middle of the left lane. I had a semi on my right and a cliff on my left. I drive an SUV so I centered it over the rock and hoped for the best. We heard a loud clunk and when I looked in my rear-view mirror I watched the van behind me swerving around trying to avoid what looked like aluminum debris. Everything seemed fine so we continued driving. We pulled over at the next available exit and I climbed underneath to have a look. Whatever it was, ripped part of my undercarriage covering (the plastic running from the front to about midway to the rear) off. No other damage was noted. I’ll have to replace it when I get home.

Here’s my final comment concerning a program called Grammarly:

  • The algorithm is definitely much better than the one built into Word. But, like all such software, it will occasionally suggest a change that is wrong. Never assume any grammar checker is correct – verify what it is suggesting before you implement the change.
  • The integration into Chrome and Word is quite good. My only complaint about the Word version is that while you are scanning a document the auto-save feature, as well as the track-changes feature of Word, are disabled.
  • The Chrome and Safari extensions are totally free looking for contextual spelling errors as well as 100 points of punctuation and grammar. The paid-for versions of these extensions will check for over 250 points of grammar and will analyze the sentence structure.
  • The premium version of the service includes an add-in for Microsoft Office. For a writer like myself who spends 8 or 9 months writing a story and then another 1 or 2 months editing, paying for a program you only use for a short period of time might not be worth it. On the other hand, a good editor can easily cost twice as much as the subscription fee. If you send your manuscript to an editor, then Grammarly might not be a program you want to pay for. If you prefer to take your chances and not filter your manuscript through an editor, then you should seriously consider a Grammarly subscription.
  • I write my first and second draft in Scrivener. Grammarly does not integrate with this very popular writing tool. But, I don’t do my grammar checking in Scrivener—I use Word, and Grammarly integrates very well with that program.

The bottom line is that buying a Grammarly subscription will strongly depend upon how you write and how often you need a grammar checker. For myself, I have an editor (my wife) and paying for another opinion is not cost effective. If you write a lot of short stories, if you want to grammar-check your blog every week, if you need a good grammar checker on a regular basis, then, by all means, get a subscription to Grammarly—it is worth the money in those situations.