In collecting information for my Writing Contests page, I came upon a site called ‘Writers’ Village’, which looked interesting. Needless to say (cliché), it runs a writing competition. However, my reason for this post is that the website owner, John Yeoman, also provides a number of free articles dealing with improving your short story efforts. I signed up for the free stuff and, as a result, received a link from John. This took me to
http://www.cliches.biz/clichecleaner/, where I was able to download a trial version of software designed to spot clichés in written work.
Often, writers are unaware of even using clichés, let alone repeating the error by using them more than once. Similarly, repeated phrases are commonly overlooked by the most careful of editors, but will stick out like a sore thumb (cliché) to the alert reader.
A couple of days ago, on Xmas day, I posted a short story for readers and decided to use this as a test of the software. The results are shown in the screen shot below. I was pleasantly surprised by the few instances that appeared in the story. But I’m conscious that, especially in longer works, I’m prone to the occasional cliché, and I bet you use them as well. I like the clear style of the software and its ease of use. It’s a good old no-nonsense tool and a worthy addition to any writer’s toolbox. At present, you copy and paste the piece of work into the program, which has the look of a basic text editor. However, the designer is currently working on an update, which will allow users to open files direct from Word. This upgrade will be offered free to purchases of the current software. To be honest, I had no problem with the copy and paste (repeated phrase) process, but a direct route to a file would obviously be preferable. There are four options to control the way the software selects and displays the clichés and repeated phrases it finds, but the default position was all I needed.
If you click on the graphic, it should bring it up in a new window at a larger size.
As this was a trial version, I decided to look into costs for the full version. It’s so cheap it’s hardly worth considering, when you recognise how useful it will be for you. The cost of the full program is $12.95, which translates currently to £8.29 or €9.79.
I’ve downloaded the full version and will use it in editing my work from now on. In fact, I used it on this post. Any tool that can help improve the quality of writing must be considered seriously by every writer hoping to gain and retain a worthwhile readership, after all.