Useful Websites

Site of the Week: AutoCrit

If you know of any good websites or run one yourself, feel free to recommend it. I cannot promise to look at all of them but if I find your site suitable for my weekly feature then I will do my utmost to accommodate it. In return I might merely ask that you link to my blog. But please (and I mean this in the politest possible terms) do not ask me to advertise your commercial service.

Another StumbleUpon find, AutoCrit is a tool that helps to find common mistakes in a given passage and suggests corrections. Unfortunately, it seems that you can only get limited use per day, there is an unlimited service that is behind a paywall. I used the opening section from my short story “A New Age Exodus”:

Kirsten huffed as the ageing tin bucket finally returned to the top. The archaic brick and rotting rope looked almost as bad as she felt this mild spring morning. Dew clung steadfast to the mossy structure and the long lush grass, which flapped in the light wind. The picturesque scene tipped off with a light smattering of snow sprinkled atop glens towering high. Light grey clouds allowed only minimal sunlight to pass through.

It felt as the she’d been taking this two-mile trek down the mountain every day for over fifty years. This wasn”t possible, as Kirsten was only nineteen.

Unhooking the small bucket, she poured the almost clear contents into the larger tin bucket she”d brought with her. She dipped her finger into the container and tasted the fluid. It tasted good and healthy so she said a quick prayer to the mountain goddess. “Thankyou most blessed mother of the Glen for your continued nourishment of the people and of the land. She returned the bucket to the rope, secured it with a firm knot and proceeded to lower it into the almost bottomless well once again. Twice more and the bucket would be filled.

She turned and admired the view of her highland home. Though beautiful, the small close-knit community of villages was a far cry from the life Kirsten longed for. Deep down, she resented being little more than a slave to the disability of her father. It wasn”t his fault, he”d been crippled three years previously when his horse was startled by a pack of wild, starving dogs in the valley. Her father was thrown from the saddle and he had to crawl with a broken back, over a mile to the next village while the dogs pursued the horse.

She remained thankful that her father had not resorted to alcohol. The will of her father coupled with the strength of the Mountain Goddess ensured his health. Struggling to lift the now full container, Kirsten allowed herself a small sigh. She didn”t want this any more. She wanted to leave, explore what lay beyond the glens and the valley. She was not unattractive; at least she”d never considered herself to be unappealing. Certainly she had been the attention of many a young man but just as many would not give her a second glance. Perhaps one rich man who owned his own village would whisk her away to the land beyond someday, start afresh without the worries of life on her shoulder where she would not want for anything or worry about getting sick. Perhaps she shall get that opportunity someday, perhaps.

The tool responded almost immediately. On the right hand side of the page is a list of tabs where AutoCrit shows a wide range of problems and issues that need addressing in a given text including overused words, clichés and superfluous words. I think I’m going to find this very useful.


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