Monday, June 24, 2013

To Type or Not to Type

Regular readers of this blog know that I hand write all my manuscripts before I type them. Typing, for me, is my first edit. Novels have a lot of words that need to be typed. So far, I have published just over a quarter of a million words. After typing the first 30,000 words of Secrets of the Sages, I decided to give up typing novels to try something new.

For about the past week, I have been using speech recognition software. I got Dragon Naturally Speaking 12. The regular retails for $99 while the premium version is $199. My consensus, thus far, is good.

I use it with my own headset. Not a pricey bit of plastic, but it does exactly what I need it to do. Since my vintage version of Word has gone wonky, I am now using Open Office. After going through the tutorial and reading an excerpt of a novel by Lewis Carroll, I began to dictate my hand-written manuscript.

My book was already started in manuscript format—double spaced and first line indent at a half inch. All I needed to do was read. My words magically appeared on the page, well sort of. I had to teach it my characters' names and places that I had already entered into Open Office’s spell check dictionary.

Every so often, it mistranslates. I read a few lines, then correct. Correcting is easy. The program is instinctive to use. I do have to remember to say my punctuation and say “cap” before some of my characters' names. But that is what I get for naming characters commonly used words, such as hope.

I have been racing through my manuscript. Typing would have taken much longer. Another bonus with this software is that it spells things correctly for you. I love that feature. It saves me from doing extra work.

If the dog barks or a loud truck passes by, even with a noise canceling microphone it messes up. Once in awhile, what I have written does not always flow from my mouth. After having a good laugh, I correct the mistakes. I find myself only having to type in my ancient Fairy language and in what I call the ancient tongue in my fantasy series. My main beef with the program is that it uses straight quotes instead of curly ones. I can’t seem to get it to use the latter. It is something that I will have to fix in the next round of editing.

The software learns the more you use it. It tries to figure out which word you meant by using context. All in all, I am very happy with it. I would recommend Dragon Naturally Speaking software to anyone who wants to make life a little easier.


Follow-up article 22 July 14


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