Editing Rant: Mechanical Means

Man on Horse, photo by Matt Lee

Image courtesy of Matt Lee of Unsplash, cropped by Erin Penn

Never substitute human eyes for mechanical help.

Not that the mechanical help isn’t helpful, because it is. I use two different editing programs as part of my editing process. But I use them very, very carefully. They cut out a lot of easy stuff, allowing me (when I am editing) and my human editor (when I am writing) to concentrate on fixing the real issues.

But mechanical suggestions are just that, suggestions. Just don’t take them as gospel.

Example:
He nodded and patted his horse’s neck in an affectionate way.

Machine recommend changing “in an affectionate way” to “affectionately” – true, normally this would get rid of extra words and help clarity, but for verbal nuances, this changes the sentence to something a little creepy.