Typely—a free Proofreading Service

The Writer's Precepts

Help! Main character set-up.

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Paul Whybrow

Full Member
Jun 20, 2015
Cornwall, UK
This morning, I found a link on Jane Friedman's newsletter Electric Speed, from her excellent website about writing, to an app called Typely.

Typely - free online proofreading

This offers a proofreading service, with no grammar checks. It's relatively new, but appears to work well.

I examined my WIP using it, and it identified several errors. One useful feature, is called 'Read it to me' which offers a text to speech programme that reads your writing to you in a rather robotic voice. It was strange to hear my story read out, rather than trying to assess its worth through the voice in my head! o_O

It's well worth a look.

Are you sure this works? LOL! Below is what I just inputted and it found NO issues. Yes, I used a couple of homonyms on purpose, but STRUGELING is not a word. I misspelled STRUGGLING and it did not catch it. While I understand it won't detect grammar issues, misspellings are NOT the same as grammar mistakes. Seems to me if you turn off the grammar checker on Word, which is annoying as hell, it does a better job catching outright spelling mistakes than this app does.

I’m really strugeling with righting lately. I don’t seam to want to do anything.
To be fair, I'm really liking 'Read it to me'

Cheers for this beaut peeps :)
Just dumped a chapter of my WIP into this as a test. I have never seen so much bullshit in my life. It identified 15 errors in one chapter, only 2 of which were actual errors (I'd missed hyphens). It does not understand context at all and allows for no stylisation. Its an updated version of the Office Paperclip, but with an even more patronising tone!:p
"It looks like you are trying to write incredibly blandly. I can help with that..."

Also, scolding me for expletives? Yeah, no one uses those in the real world...:rolleyes:
Agree with Carol too - it can't see typos worth a damn, but gets all bent out of shape about sentence length and what it (utterly incorrectly) believes to be cliche.
Typely is still in development. I found this article about it:

Typely focuses on usage, not grammar, to proofread like a pro | The Bookseller

Every spell checker and grammar guide I've used objects to swear words, which makes me wonder if the designers are all well-spoken prudes!

For what it's worth, my writing life has been made easier without the aggravation of Grammarly, which I switched off. I replaced it with Ginger and LanguageTool, which both function unobtrusively and more accurately than Grammarly, though all of these apps struggle with abstract concepts.

Sometimes, their moral rectitude backfires on them. I wrote a scene in one of my Cornish Detective novels, where a key witness was filmed being tortured in a BDSM dungeon. The antagonist, a villainous luxury car dealer suspected of murder, smuggling and human trafficking, was sodomising the witness with an unfeasibly large dildo. The spell checker asked me if I meant to type 'dodo'!

So, that's why they went extinct!

I kind of liked it. It says it doesn't catch grammatical errors. I'm going to assume the dumb machine means homonyms and other spelling errors too. It's analyzing the text for language use. But, it's a fun thing to do with writing. It's fun in the way reading tarot cards is fun. Also, I liked what it said about my chapter. "You flatter me sir!" :)

I have another one I like. But, I need to find it. I don't know why I always lose it. Here it is. It's called slickwrite. I don't know why I can't ever remember the name:


These types of tools use readability indexes. There are several types of readability indexes and scores. But basically, it measures things such as sentence variation, reading level, and whether you're using a positive rather than a negative sentence structure. Slickwrite will count prepositional phrases and says it measures passive voice. But, passive voice is hard to measure. I'm not sure of it's reliability.

There are some text analyzers that charge. I don't have any problem remembering the name of the one that charges. It's called AutoCrit. But I think slickwrite is pretty good and it's free.

Also, it evaluates something writers hardly ever talk about, the use of prepositional phrases. For some reason, when I was first trying to get rid of passive voice, I started overusing prepositional phrases. Slickwrite pointed this out to me.
Folk singer Melanie did a great job of parodying Freudian psychoanalysis, including phallic symbols, in her song 'Psychotherapy', with its closing verse:

Freud's mystic world of meaning needn't have us mystified
It's really very simple what the psyche tries to hide:
A thing is a phallic symbol if it's longer than it's wide
As the id goes marching on
Glory glory psychotherapy, glory glory sexuality
Glory glory now we can be free as the id goes marching on

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The Writer's Precepts

Help! Main character set-up.