How to Get the Most From the Hemingway App

How to Get the Most From the Hemingway App

Your writing needs to be clear, but so does your voice! I’m on the third round of edits of my latest novel, a supernatural thriller told in the first person, present tense.

I’m on the third round of edits of my latest novel, a supernatural thriller told in the first person, present tense. This is a first for me in all of the above. To help police myself, I downloaded the Hemingway Editing App.

It was an eye-opener.

The app claims to help make your writing tighter and clearer by pointing out potential unnecessary or excess verbiage. It highlights adverbs and qualifiers, telling you just how many you should have (I will always have way too many of both!), as well as how many times you slip into passive voice (not a huge problem for me). But the kicker is seeing how many of your sentences range from “difficult to read” to “very difficult to read.”

But don’t let the number of “difficult/very difficult to read” sentences in your story discourage you! It’s natural to want to fix all of them. But I have to warn you: just because a sentence is compound or longer than it might be doesn’t mean you should chop it up into three short, clear, but devoid of character sentences.

For me, it’s helpful to have an app that will point out whether a sentence is difficult to read, because sometimes it’s correct. I may have erred by switching the tense or other grammatical error. Or I may have written a run-on sentence that could be a lot shorter, and/or a lot clearer.

But sometimes, it’s okay as it is. Or maybe it needs some minor corrections before moving on. If it’s a fiction piece, when I’m writing as people speak, it’s okay if it’s incorrect. The point is, can the reader understand it? That’s the hundred dollar question.

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