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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Editing Rant: Mechanical Means

Image courtesy of Matt Lee of Unsplash, cropped by Erin Penn

Never substitute human eyes for mechanical help.

Not that the mechanical help isn't helpful, because it is. I use two different editing programs as part of my editing process. But I use them very, very carefully. They cut out a lot of easy stuff, allowing me (when I am editing) and my human editor (when I am writing) to concentrate on fixing the real issues.

But mechanical suggestions are just that, suggestions. Just don't take them as gospel.

Example:
He nodded and patted his horse’s neck in an affectionate way.

Machine recommend changing "in an affectionate way" to "affectionately" - true, normally this would get rid of extra words and help clarity, but for verbal nuances, this changes the sentence to something a little creepy.

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