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My AutoCrit Review: Fiction Writer’s Perspective

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In this article, I’ll be providing an in-depth review of AutoCrit, an online editing software designed to help fiction writers improve their craft. As an avid fiction writer myself, I was excited to test out AutoCrit’s features and see if it could take my writing to the next level.

Throughout this review, you’ll learn:

  • What exactly AutoCrit is and how it works
  • An overview of AutoCrit’s key features for analyzing fiction manuscripts
  • How much AutoCrit costs and what plans are available
  • My hands-on experience using AutoCrit’s tools on my own novel draft
  • The pros and cons of AutoCrit based on my testing
  • How AutoCrit compares to other editing software like ProWritingAid and Grammarly
  • Whether AutoCrit is worth the investment for fiction writers

By the end, you should have a clear understanding of what AutoCrit offers and whether it could be a useful addition to your fiction writing toolbox. Time to dive in

For Starters, What Even Is AutoCrit?

AutoCrit is a web-based manuscript editing tool specifically designed for fiction writers. It analyzes your draft using NLP (natural language processing) and comparisons to successfully published works in order to provide insights to strengthen your writing.

Here’s a quick rundown of how it works:

  1. You copy your draft into AutoCrit’s text editor or upload it as a Word doc, Google doc, etc.
  2. Select your genre so analysis is tailored. Options include fantasy, romance, sci-fi, thriller, YA, and more.
  3. Run reports on different elements like dialogue, pacing, repetition, etc.
  4. AutoCrit highlights potential issues in your draft and provides metrics, suggestions, and benchmark comparisons to published works.
  5. You review the reports and can edit your manuscript directly in AutoCrit or download it with highlights to revise outside the app.

So in a nutshell, you feed your draft into AutoCrit and it spits back targeted feedback to help you improve your writing in ways typical grammar checkers can’t. The reports provide an at-a-glance view of your manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses.

AutoCrit markets itself as “like having a professional editor look over your shoulder.” The goal is to emulate a human editor identifying areas needing work. But unlike a real editor, AutoCrit just points things out – you still have to do the actual revising yourself.

While AutoCrit isn’t a substitute for a human editor, it can provide actionable insights your average spellchecker misses. If used properly, it really can help fiction writers take their craft to the next level.

Pricing: How Much Does AutoCrit Cost?

AutoCrit offers three pricing tiers depending on your needs:

Basic (Free Forever)

  • Spelling & grammar checks
  • Basic writing style checks (adverbs, readability)
  • Word explorer for synonyms
  • Up to 10,000 words

Pro ($30/month)

  • Full suite of 20+ reports
  • Genre-specific analysis
  • Benchmarking against successful books
  • Unlimited word count
  • Upload via Word, Google Docs, etc.
  • Private online storage

Elite ($80/month)

  • Everything in Pro
  • Compare to specific authors
  • Online writing courses
  • 1 free developmental edit per year

The free Basic plan is a good option if you just want to test AutoCrit’s core capabilities. But to really utilize the advanced manuscript analysis tools, you’ll need the Pro plan. The Elite plan adds some extras for serious writers like courses and one free developmental edit per year.

There are occasionally limited-time offers for discounted annual subscriptions or lifetime access. For example, during Cyber Monday they offered 50% off an annual Pro subscription. So it can pay to keep an eye out for deals.

Some key takeaways on AutoCrit’s pricing:

  • There is a permanently free Basic option with basic checks
  • The Pro plan unlocks full in-depth analysis starting at $30/month
  • Elite has additional perks for $80/month
  • Watch for deals on annual or lifetime subscriptions

Overall the pricing is competitive for the level of insights provided, especially compared to hiring a human editor. But the recurring subscriptions may deter some writers.

Okay, but Are the Features Useful?

AutoCrit provides over 20 specialized reports addressing different aspects of fiction writing. I tested most of these reports on my own novel draft to assess their utility. Here are some of the most useful ones:

Pacing & Momentum Reports

These reports analyze your story’s flow by highlighting chapters or paragraphs that disrupt the pacing:

Chapter Length Variation: Flags chapters that are exceptionally longer or shorter than others. Helps ensure consistent pacing.

Pacing: Identifies sections that move too slowly or quickly. Useful for smoothing out lulls or peaks.

Paragraph Length Variation: Highlights paragraphs that are unusually long or short. Helps improve flow.

Sentence Length Variation: Points out areas with repetitive sentence structures. Fix by varying sentence length.

I found these incredibly helpful for pinpointing areas in my draft that dragged, moved too fast, or had monotonous patterns. The visual graphs provide an at-a-glance view of pacing issues.

Dialogue Reports

Dialogue reports analyze the balance, flow, and style of character interactions:

Dialogue Tags: Flags overused tags like “she said.” Varying tags improves flow.

Adverbs in Dialogue: Identifies unnecessary dialogue adverbs to cut. Improves realism.

% of Sentences with Dialogue: Checks if dialogue makes up an appropriate % of text or dominates. Ensures balance.

The dialogue tag report helped me identify where I relied too much on basic tags. Cutting the repetitiveness made conversations pop. Really useful for fiction writers.

Word Choice Reports

These reports catch issues with generic, repetitive, or inconsistent wording:

Initial Name/Pronoun References: Checks that you effectively vary naming/pronouns for characters.

Sentence Starters: Finds overused opening phrases so you can vary sentence structure.

Power Words: Highlights weak word choices and suggests more vivid alternatives. Pumps up your prose.

Generic Descriptions: Flags bland descriptors like “nice” or “angry” so you can be more specific.

The power words tool helped strengthen my imagery by identifying weaker verbs and adjectives to replace. My prose is punchier as a result.

Repetition Reports

Repetition reports highlight redundant words and phrasing:

Repeated Words/Phrases: Uncovers repetitiveness in your word choices and language patterns.

Word Frequency: Reveals words used with unusually high frequency. Helps spot accidental repetition.

Catching repeated language I missed during self-editing made my writing less redundant and my word choices more diverse. Really cleaned things up.

Readability Reports

These provide metrics on the reading level of your draft:

Readability Stats: Generates reading level scores using metrics like Flesch-Kincaid. Helps target audience.

Dale Chall Readability: Provides reading level specifically calibrated for fiction. Useful genre gauge.

The readability metrics helped me confirm my novel was accessible for my target audience. Very helpful during editing.

My Favorite Features

After thoroughly test-driving AutoCrit on my latest manuscript, a few features stood out as particularly useful:

Power Words – This highlights plain verbs/adjectives and suggests punchier alternatives to strengthen imagery. It really made my prose more vivid.

Repeated Phrases – Uncovering unintended repetition of words and phrases made my writing less redundant. Easy way to catch reuse I’d missed.

Pacing Reports – The visual pacing graphs quickly showed areas dragging or moving too fast. Made smoothing out lulls a breeze.

Benchmarking – Comparing my manuscript’s metrics to published works provided helpful guidance on styling my draft for readers.

Tense Consistency – This caught spots where I accidentally shifted from past to present tense. No more inadvertent tense flip-flopping.

The mix of big picture pacing insights along with line-level word choice improvements provided comprehensive manuscript analysis I couldn’t get from a standard grammar checker.

But AutoCrit’s utility extends beyond just its reports:

Easy File Importing – Uploading docs accurately parsed my manuscript’s chapters for easy analysis. Way better than copy/pasting text.

Community – Fellow writers provide feedback on manuscripts and participate in monthly video calls. Useful for accountability and encouragement.

Courses – The training courses offer actionable tips on plotting, characterization, worldbuilding and more. Levels up your craft knowledge.

Supportive Team – The founder and team engage with users and take feedback on new features. Feels like they genuinely want to help you succeed.

Pros: What I Liked About AutoCrit

After using AutoCrit extensively during my last round of manuscript revisions, here are the things that impressed me most:

Helpful feedback – The combination of pacing, repetition, word choice, and readability reports gave me concrete insights on improving my draft. It highlighted weaknesses I hadn’t noticed on my own.

Goes deeper than grammar – While it catches grammar issues, AutoCrit focuses more on providing stylistic evaluations tailored for fiction. This higher-level analysis is harder for writers to do themselves.

Easy editing – I could fix many issues without leaving AutoCrit’s editor. For trickier revisions, highlighted manuscripts made spots to improve easy to find outside the app.

Style benchmarking – Seeing how my manuscript compared to published works on metrics like sentence variation and filler words provided helpful guidance on reader expectations.

Tracks progress – AutoCrit’s summary score measured my manuscript’s improvement between drafts. Useful for assessing editing effectiveness over time.

Supportive community – Connecting with other writers helps you stay motivated, get feedback, and become a better writer. AutoCrit facilitates this well with its groups.

Accessible courses – The online courses offer actionable, bite-sized lessons on fiction writing techniques. They’ve improved my craft knowledge and given me new skills.

Engaged team – AutoCrit’s staff interacts directly with users daily. They listen to feedback and regularly implement feature requests to help writers.

For me, AutoCrit excelled at providing feedback I wouldn’t have gotten on my own and helping me view my writing from a reader’s perspective. The gamification of tracking my progress over drafts also motivated me to keep strengthening my manuscript.

Cons: What I Think Could Be Improved

Although I found AutoCrit extremely helpful overall, there are still a few areas for improvement:

Limited integrations – There aren’t any integrations with major writing apps like Scrivener or Google Docs. You have to upload/copy manuscripts into AutoCrit’s editor. Native integrations would streamline things.

Web app only – AutoCrit is online only. Some writers may prefer a downloadable native app. However, the web app does work great.

No plagiarism check – AutoCrit focuses solely on style and pacing rather than plagiarism. Writers seeking plagiarism detection need to use an additional tool like ProWritingAid.

Not for line editing – Reports highlight areas to improve but don’t make actual edits. You need to do the revisions yourself or hire an editor for nitty-gritty line edits.

Steep learning curve – With so many reports and features, AutoCrit can be overwhelming initially. It takes some time studying to use the program effectively.

No lifetime license – You have to maintain a subscription to keep accessing reports on revised manuscripts. A single lifetime payment option could save money long-term.

These cons aren’t dealbreakers for me, but addressing them would make AutoCrit more convenient and accessible for writers. Even without changes though, AutoCrit provides immense value.

How Does AutoCrit Compare to Other Editing Tools?

AutoCrit differs quite a bit from other popular editing tools like ProWritingAid and Grammarly. Here’s how they stack up:

Grammarly – Checks grammar and spelling. More limited analysis capabilities. Better for email/docs than fiction manuscripts. More affordable starting at $12/month.

ProWritingAid – Provides strong style editing for all genres. Offers more granular line edits but less big picture analysis than AutoCrit. Also more affordable at $45/year.

AutoCrit – Specialized reports fine-tuned for fiction manuscripts. Provides macro-level pacing and story insights beyond grammar. Better for novels. Starts at $30/month.

Key Differences:

  • AutoCrit tailored to fiction, others better for general writing
  • ProWritingAid excels at line edits, AutoCrit at big picture analysis
  • AutoCrit benchmarks against successful books
  • AutoCrit more expensive but made for fiction writing

The choice comes down to your specific needs. For fiction or story-driven narrative nonfiction, AutoCrit provides specialized tools the others lack. But ProWritingAid gives more robust grammar/stylistic editing. Grammarly covers basics well at the lowest price.

Is AutoCrit Worth the Money for Writers?

For fiction writers serious about refining their craft, I believe AutoCrit is definitely worth the investment. The insights it provided into pacing, repetition, mechanics, and reader expectations were all extremely helpful during my editing process.

The Pro plan costs a bit more than some alternatives, but you get invaluable feedback a standard grammar checker can’t match. The variety of macro and micro-level reports efficiently indicate areas for improvement you likely wouldn’t catch on your own.

For newer writers still mastering basics, the free version may provide enough assistance. But novelists looking to emulate the standards of successfully published works will find immense value in the Pro tier.

AutoCrit isn’t a magic bullet that will instantly elevate your writing. You still have to put in the work revising. But it will make you more aware of weaknesses and give you clear direction for improvement. And the community helps you stay motivated and keep sharpening your skills.

If you find a discounted annual or lifetime subscription, I strongly encourage fiction writers to give AutoCrit a try. Even at the regular pricing of $30/month though, it provides robust tools to help your manuscript shine that warrant the investment in my opinion. Just be sure to thoroughly learn the platform to maximize the benefits.

Final Thoughts

That concludes my hands-on review of AutoCrit based on extensively testing it during my latest round of manuscript revisions. I hope this comprehensive article gave you a clear understanding of how AutoCrit works and what it offers fiction writers.

While not perfect, AutoCrit’s specialized reports provide valuable insights on pacing, word choice, repetition, and more that can really elevate your novel drafts. For fiction writers seeking to emulate the standards of successfully published works, AutoCrit gives you the data and metrics to do so.

Don’t expect it to edit your actual manuscript – you still have to do the work! But AutoCrit makes knowing what to improve much easier. If you invest the time to learn the platform, it can take your writing to new heights.

So if you’re looking to level up your fiction manuscript, give the free version of AutoCrit a try and then consider the Pro plan if you want in-depth analysis. It could just help transform your story from good to great.

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