Grammarly 101

Gram 2

gram1

Folks those words checked are my words in these books that you see on Amazon and these blogs.  

Ok, I got enough e-mail asking for it, here it is….

Before I go on to the meat of this blog, you will notice my award and subsequent information from Grammarly. Why is it here, am I bragging?

No, I shared this with you so you would have an idea that I might know something about this subject.
I have a love-hate relationship with this program. It could use some more work.

When I first downloaded it, I allowed it to run as I typed. Bad mistake! When you let it run it stops word from doing incremental saves of your work. Yes, I lost several hours worth of work!
If you run Word’s Spell check and its version of Grammarly, it gets most of the biggies but, it does not get the nitty-gritty.

If you are a writer, the story is the first thing that sets you apart and above the rest. Tell me a good story that captivates my attention, so much so that I don’t want to put it down!

As a writer, you must be able to string a noun and a verb together in the same sentence and make it appear like they belong together. Some who blog here cannot do that. Not judging, practice!
Spelling and punctuation are killers, and I will confess my absolute loathing for the ubiquitous comma!
Unlike math, English is not an exact science. The rules are subjective in some cases, and that is why English and journalism class are buggers! If you are going to take either, know who is teaching it and find out what they like and despise.
Grammarly will examine your writing, and it may or may not give you good advice. More often than not the “nit” is worthy of examination. Every flag it throws up I examine why. Some of them are utter nonsense, most are not.

Well, TW, how do you use Grammarly if you don’t leave it run as you type. Why don’t you allow it to run other than the backup thing you mentioned?

Whenever you write it is imperative that you leave reveal codes on. Trust me, after a while, you will not be able to write without them on. Grammarly has a tendency to toss crap numbers “hidden” in your document when you edit. Not sure why or how but it does. Unless you catch them when you upload your manuscript, it will toss the proverbial monkey wrench into it.
Grammarly uses tons of horsepower to run thus slowing your computer down to a crawl. You will be writing along, and the program will freeze. Yes, I have lost entire documents like that and believe me I was pissed!
So my friends here is the way I use Grammarly.

I don’t, I don’t until I am finished with the manuscript and only then do I use it judiciously. What does that mean, judiciously???
I open the saved manuscript, underscore saved, and then I open a second instance of Word. Now I CTRL X on a chapter at a time and put it onto the other instance of Word. I then run all of the options of Grammarly against it.
If it is simple commas or regular typos I allow Grammarly to correct it. Word choices you must be careful about because it seems to be weak on context. “has instead of have.”

Context is king in a lot of different things, and your manuscript is no different.
Pick the kind of document you are working on and allow it to do its thing. If you decide to edit other things than what Grammarly flagged, such as adding a paragraph, turn Grammarly off until you are ready to check again. Once you are prepared, turn it back on.

If you should notice that your computer is starting to act wonky with Grammarly running, it is a good bet that you are out of resources for the program to run. Stop and save everything immediately!
I would suggest to any serious writer that you have a computer that can handle the most intensive game on the market. I don’t care about the video I am talking about CPU power and memory! Word and Grammarly together are pigs! They will suck the cycles from your computer more often than not.
If your document gets too voluminous be aware.
Book number 26 (Ghost Signal from Colorado Springs) was published on Amazon and

Smashwords yesterday. Many of you are already reading it. Tell me what you think!
I run the reports, and people all over the globe are reading my books, and I am anxious to know what you thought. While it is heartening to see so many of you enjoying my writing, I would love to know what you thought or think.
Yes, it is about affirmation! LOL

I admit it. I write for you my readers and for the bloggers who follow me.
I hope that my experience with Grammarly is of some assistance to you.
Much Love -TW

Dear Grammarly

 

I thought I would document some of the things I find using your product for others, so we could collaborate on such things and possibly find a fix.

Firstly I would point out that what your program thinks is right or excellent English; Word disagrees with at times.  While I do not believe that one should totally rely on artificial intelligence, I do feel that examining what your program and word think is incorrect is probably worth looking into.

When using your product to examine a manuscript, often toward the end of the document, Word slows to a crawl and at times dies causing one to lose their work.

I have learned that as soon as the program starts to act wonky, save your work and reboot.  I can only assume that there is a memory leak, either in Word or Grammarly.

The fact that you disable word’s native autosave when Grammarly is active is a “just a wow, how damn stupid is that?” moment.  I am sure that your programmers needed to do that for some reason but guys, rework your program, that is just insane!

With the add-on running, Word becomes less stable.  Disabling autosave starts to set one up for the perfect storm.”

Having lost a manuscript like this, I have workarounds which I will share now.

“Never write with Grammarly running, period, end of story.”

Save your work and then turn Grammarly on but, be careful not to enable too many of the “filters” at one time.  If it is a small document, you should have no worries.  Larger documents, I would limit what you ask of your computer via Grammarly.  One filter at a time perhaps.

Hidden crap!

When editing a manuscript as I have laid out, I often find “crap” inserted into my document at random.  It might consist of letters or numbers as in the example here.

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If you turn off “show hidden” the crap goes away but guess what, it is still there and will show up when you upload your manuscript to your favorite e-publishing site.

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This novel which I was just editing I took the time to document some of the things I found.  Not always but sometimes Grammarly will identify them as spelling errors as there is an extra letter or numbers.  Not all the time but again sometimes you can tell Grammarly to correct it by clicking on the correction and it will.  The problem is that Grammarly nor Word’s spell check will reliably flag this nonsense, so it is incumbent upon the author to go back and look at every sentence to make sure that there is no hidden crap.

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Editing with Grammarly will work fine for a while.  If you should find an awkward sentence and rewrite without disabling Grammarly, soon, you will notice that clicking on the corrections to the right will not work.

“That!”  That is your cue to disable Grammarly and save your bloody work as the application is at the precipice of dying a horrible death causing you to lose your mind, not to mention your manuscript!

For $130 or so US dollars a year, I expect and demand better!

This is word 2013 Professional edition if there is such a thing, and this computer is no slouch either.

If you other writers out there are using Grammarly I would be interested in knowing your experiences.

In spite of my obvious frustrations with the product, I will say that I just renewed my subscription with them.  Notwithstanding the issues, the program is better than word’s native spellcheck.  I want them to succeed as it makes me a better writer.

Paying attention to what the program flags, I find that many of my mistakes are not really mistakes at all.  They are what a computer that thinks in 1’s and 0’s  tries to make of English, which is not math.  The program is only as good as its algorithms.

The ubiquitous (comma) is my largest flagged error.  Sometimes it is correct, and sometimes it is not.

Saga of the Starduster was recently edited and released once again both on Smashwords and Amazon.

If you have already read it and want an updated version, it is ready for you as REV 3.1.

I made a few minor changes to some awkward sentences and removed some hidden numbers that ended up in the released version.

 

Much Love!

TW