The tag line for the Hemingway app is, “Make your writing bold and clear.” More like bland and dull.
OK, that’s a bit rough. The biggest problem with this program isn’t the writing rules it tries to enforce. The user interface was was designed by someone unfamiliar with computers. Basic functionality like opening and saving files is absent. The edit window disappears under the top menu, making editing difficult. The write and edit modes have so few differences, switching between them is useless. (Edit is the view with the reports.)
The Reports and rules are clear and accurate enough. However, if you follow them all to the letter you’ll be removing everything from your work that makes it your work. For example; the program complains that for one of my stories use too many adverbs. Three. Not three per sentence, or per paragraph, but three for the whole story. And none of them end in “ly.” The program suggests that I shouldn’t use more than one adverb per story. Yikes!
The rest of the rules are a bit more reasonable, but all should be considered suggestions rather than rules. The trick is to know the rules well enough that you can successfully break them. That takes some confidence in yourself. That’s still something of a struggle for myself.
Eating your own dog food
To give a real world example I ran the above text through the app.
- It tells me that the writing is at a 5th grade level and that that’s good.
- It says I’m using too many adverbs, successfully and “ly.” (Oops.)
- One phrase, “however”, has a simpler alternative. (I assume they mean “but.” Not the same.)
- Two of the sentences are “hard to read.” (An arbitrary word count. Not a test of complexity.)
So pretty good. Perhaps my writing isn’t as exciting a I imagine.
Note: This review is for the free Windows app, not the paid version.