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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

GUEST BLOG: Nikolas Baron from Grammarly

Hi hi!

So, who the hell is Nikolas Baron? Glad you asked! I'll tell you: Nikolas Baron works with Grammarly, an online grammar and spell checking tool that offers writers a second pair of eyes. Writers, you know just as much as I do that a fresh eye never hurts! And while they provide the second pair, trust me - I'm still looking for the third and fourth pair to supplement! The editing and proofreading process is probably my least favorite part about writing a book. But it has to be done, and Grammarly is a good place to start. Below, Nikolas tells us more about the tool that may just keep our heads from exploding!


Online Writing Tools
You’re sitting, staring at your latest blog entry or manuscript. Your eyes are crossing... The letters seem to be doing a conga line across the page because you’ve re-read it so many times for errors, you can hardly see straight. Ah, the joys of revision! It takes time to polish a manuscript, checking for grammar, spelling, and usage errors, not to mention painstakingly re-reading to ensure proper flow and good word choice. Fortunately for writers, the World Wide Web has made tools available to ease the pain of editing and revisions. While no software or tool can make your writing as good as it can be without your putting in time and hard work, these writing tools can make it easier to produce polished content.
GrammarlyGrammarly’s proofreading software is one of the most comprehensive tools available to writers online. It checks your manuscript automatically for grammar, spelling, and usage, and gives you a report on any issues with your writing, and offers suggestions on how they can be fixed. It also runs a plagiarism check, comparing your writing to content posted on sites from all over the web, to help ensure you don’t inadvertently publish something too similar to what’s already online. This service is particularly helpful to bloggers, who rely on rankings to attract visitors to their sites, since search engines punish pages with duplicate content.

Cliché Finder While writing, it’s all too easy to fall into familiar phraseology and use worn-out phrases without a second thought. The Cliché Finder allows a writer to plug a sample of their work into a window, press enter, and view a copy of their writing with any clichés highlighted for easy removal. This is a handy little tool for writers who are working to improve their tone and voice.

Word Counter
For those who regularly deal with Search Engine Optimization, correct saturation of keywords is critical to success. Having the proper percentage of targeted keywords in a piece of content, and not allowing them to be overshadowed by other potential keywords, is important to gaining higher organic search engine rankings. Since search engine algorithms are designed to work in much the same way as human readers do, this tool can help any writer to avoid the overuse of certain words. Simply copy and paste the sample into the window, choose the desired settings, click “Go,” and Word Counter will spit out a list of most-used words and their frequencies in the sample.

Merriam Webster
 A good dictionary is one of the most important tools a writer has at their disposal. From spelling to usage, the dictionary is the correct reference to ensure accuracy. Merriam Webster online offers writers a quickly searchable database of word spelling and definition to help ensure their communication is clear and precise, without the need to lug out a heavy, dusty tome.

Son of Citation Machine
For writers of nonfiction, students, and anyone who needs to create citations to accompany their writing, the Son of Citation Machine is a timesaving tool that can take the guesswork and frustration out of creating citations for your sources. Simply choose your citation style -- MLA, APA, Turabian, or Chicago Manual of Style -- and plug in the appropriate information. The site creates the full citation and the in-line text, which can then be copy and pasted into your document.

Story Starter
 All these tools are no good to the writer who is facing down a bad case of block. If you’re stuck solid and your muse is on hiatus, the Story Starter is a simple sentence generator that helpfully spits out random collections of nouns and verbs to lure you back to work. Just go to the page and click the button, for a random sentence that will (hopefully) spark your imagination and get the words flowing onto the page.
By Nikolas Baron

Thanks to Nikolas for the heads up on a pretty fun way to get a project ready for submission! To give it a looksee, be sure to head over to, or get to know Nikolas by clicking the link (his name) above.
Stay creative, you'ns!


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