The Digital Critique Partner

Greg Pincus from The Happy Accident mentioned this in an email and I’ll admit, as a bit of a techno geek, I was curious. It’s called Auto Crit and it’s basically an automated critique wizard. Seriously. Gives a whole new meaning to an online critique.

So obviously, I had serious doubts as to what this thing could do, but since I had a chapter that was annoying me, I thought I’d paste it in and see how the program worked. I was impressed by the points it claimed it could critique: overused words, sentence variation, cliches & redundancies, repeated words & phrases, pacing, dialogue, initial pronouns, readability and homonyms.

Since I was testing the free version, it would only accept about 800 words and it only critiqued the first three points. Once you pay an annual fee ($47 – $117, depending on the level you choose) you can enter more text and access more critique points. But what it found in those first few points was kind of cool.

The programmed false praise “Awesome! Nice work!” was kind of annoying, but the information was good, especially since this list was followed by my text, with overused words highlighted in red. Guess I need to cut back on it/there and knew/know! The second report on sentence variation was interesting, too.

I like how it gives a visual representation with the red dots of how long the sentences are and I was glad to see that my sentences vary in length. And just in case you were wondering, I blurred my words since this is a first draft of this story 🙂  The third report showed that I had no redundancies (Yay) and no clichés (Great work).

Of course, these are technical points and it makes sense that an automated editor could find these issues. But can a robot really judge these finer aspects of a story? I’m really curious to know how the algorhythms work on pacing, dialogue and readability. Just not sure if I’m $47-$117 curious.

What do you think? Would you invest in a robot critique partner?


And the winner of the paperback copy of Samuel Park’s THIS BURNS MY HEART is:

Congratulations, Ivanova! Email me at solvang sherrie at gmail dot com and I’ll get that book sent out to you pronto.