A quasi-final decision about Autocrit

I know. I know. I’ve spent more space talking about this particular writing tool than I have just about any other. I’ve certainly written more about it in a short period of time than I have any other. But it wound up intriguing me and I’ve spent the last few days digging deeper and deeper into it. So here goes my quasi-final decision about it.

Is it good?

Definitely, if you understand its limitations and strengths.

Is it worth the cost?

That really depends and I’ll go into that in a minute.

So, what does AutoCrit do well?

As a writing interface, it is actually pretty good because it doesn’t have much of the distractions you find with other programs. The best way I can describe it as a modified text program. You type, the words appear without any spelling or punctuation prompts, etc. So if you suffer from popcorn kitten syndrome like I do at times, it can help. (Caveat here, that may not necessarily be the case if you link AutoCrit to your Grammarly account. That’s something I didn’t do because I prefer ProWritingAid and no longer have a Grammarly account.)

But its real strength lies with the way it analyzes what you have written. Having a program that will automatically keep track of characters, plot threads, AND point out conflicts in text (remember poor George who has been hanging off the cliff for the last four chapters?) is invaluable. It also keeps track of settings.

Fair warning, it does make mistakes. Some of the things it flags as conflicts aren’t, especially if you are writing in first person POV or a limited POV because your POV character doesn’t know everything. Also, during one chapter analysis, when it came to listing the characters chapter to chapter, the POV character changed last names several times (and in such a way I knew it was the app going insane because they were names I’d never use in a million years).

At the top of the screen, your total word count shows. No big surprise except for where it’s located. What is interesting is the deleted word count. It also shows the number of words added that day. So if you are someone who likes keeping track of that sort of thing and want an easy way to do it, remember this.

So, for the final verdict or whether I’m going to pay out for a year’s subscription or not, the answer is probably not. AutoCrit is a very useful tool if you understand that you can’t accept everything it says at face value. It isn’t something I would use on a daily or even weekly basis. But I can see using it after I have a draft finished or almost finished. I can also see myself using it if I find myself up against the wall and I can’t figure out where the story went off the rails.

There is one thing the app offers that I haven’t talked much about and that is the “Inspiration” tab. This is where it gets into the “icky” part for me–the AI story building part. You can use this section to get “ideas” for what comes next in your story. If you want to add or change the mood of a scene, etc., it can make suggestions for that. You can also ask it to help you “build” a story from scratch. I haven’t really played around with any of these options because the two novels I’ve run through the app are either already written or I already know where the story needs to go.

That said, I did ask the app to tell me what should come next after the third chapter of Warborn. The result really drove home just how dangerous it can be to rely on AI for story development and writing. Of the several options it presented, more than half were almost verbatim to story ideas ChatGPT came up with six months ago when I was playing around with it to see what it could do.

My plan for now is to finish out the month I paid for. Before the month’s over, I’ll talk with the folks at AutoCrit–and it is nice to have real people to talk with and who answer the chat option relatively quickly–and drop back down to the free account until I’m ready for the deep dive the program offers before publication.

I guess what I’m saying if you’re interested, try the program out while it is still offering an introductory month at $15.

(Whether I pay for the year or for only a month at a time, I will still be running my work through ProWritingAid before importing it into AutoCrit. Yes, I could integrate AutoCrit with Grammarly, but I prefer ProWritingAid.)


I’ll be back with another snippet Monday.

4 Comments

    1. NP. AutoCrit works for some–I’ve seen some writers who completely rely on it and others who are more “meh”, like me–but it isn’t the end all be all some paint it to be.

      One word about ProWritingAid, I do not use the plug-in for Word. It has proven to be too unstable at times for me to trust it. But the web interface is good and you have some pretty good control over what you want it to do. My suggestion is to keep an eye on it and get it when it’s on sale. That’s how I wound up with a lifetime subscription on it.

  1. I agree with Amanda above – I like ProWritingAid but went back to Grmmarly due to conflicts – except I think mine were more with Dragon than Grammarly – Dragon is so flaky anyway but it increases my production by 30-40% and saves me from RSI that I put up with it – my 65 year old fingers just don;t cut it anymore….
    Thanks for the summary of AutoCrit – I was toying with paying for it but I will hold off now. Thankls

    1. If the special for a month is still available, you might want to try it, Peter. Then you’ll have a better feel if you want to pay when you are ready to send a piece off to your beta readers or editor. I do like how it points out plot points, especially the ones it feels have not been tied off.

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