I use Microsoft Word or Google Docs to write. I write with Spell Check turned on, though the squiggly red lines beneath fictional names can be annoying until I add them to the document's dictionary. After completing the first draft, I read it once or twice doing minor revision and editing and taking notes. Then I take a break, as described in my Project Rotation blog. I return and edit once on paper, once using the Track Changes in Word, and another time after accepting or rejecting the changes. Then, sometimes after a few days to clear my head, I use Serenity Editor, an advanced editing program that goes beyond what the grammar and spell-check available in word processors. Serenity Software: Editor (I just call it Serenity Editor) helps with spelling, grammar, and style recommendations. I found it particularly useful for warning me of homonyms (are / our, their / there).
Serenity Editor has a free trial, which I took advantage of. The full version costs extra, but is worth it for the ability to work in a Word document. The trial and standard version require you to either print the output or flip from screen to screen.
I did not mind the trial version, despite the paper I wasted, but really enjoyed the full version once I had it (for an extra $20 approximately).
This is probably a good time to mention that I am not an affiliate of the company. I like it, so I thought I would share my view.
The program does not replace a good proofreader, critique groups, or a writer's diligence, but it adds another layer of quality and makes a writer think.
The primary reason I have embraced the program, is to create manuscripts that are as clean as possible, so when I pay an editor by the hour, it will take less time and save me money.
I used some screen shots to show a crude preview, using a pitch for my first novel, Dragon Badge. With such a short expert the editor did not find much to complain about, but I assure you when you begin a word with the word "it" the program suggests revision of the sentence. It really gets on my nerves, but I sometimes listen to advice. (Serenity Editor warned me that starting with “it” was vague and that I used a “cliché or dead metaphor.)
I recommend this program because professional editors can be expensive and this is a good step to take prior to paying for services. In today’s publishing industry, a well-edited book is needed to stand out among the crowd.
NOTE: I recently learned the trial version has the ability to edit in Word, which is a nice feature.