Hello Space Cadets, today I bring you another World Building Wednesday. This one will be about my use of the Dragon Dictation Software to write. I hurt my hand while I served in the Army, the infantry school combative classes aren’t anything to sneeze at. Right now, it alternates between being fine, tingling numbness and no feeling in two fingers on my left hand. I can type now, but if I want to think long term as an author I need alternatives. Hence audio dictation.
Since I struggle to overcome the limitations of my injuries, I went looking for answers. It was suggested that I might benefit from using audio dictation software to write, so I started researching. I went on to purchase the Dragon Pro software, bought a decent microphone (Blue Yeti) and plowed forward towards that goal. The program is very intuitive and easy to use, however, I’ve found that actually dictating my books to be harder than I imagined. Towards that end, I’ve bought a few books on the subject, which I will try to write about later. I also read this insightful article about audio narration by the ATMAC group. They’re a group dedicated to helping people overcome their disabilities with technology, though they seem to advocate for Apple specifically. While reading the ATMAC ideas, I took them all with a grain of salt but loved the individual ideas so why not. I hope that it helps you as much as it helped me!
Now that we’ve talked about what we have, let me tell you about how I use narration. First, I use them to get my handwritten notes, outlines and other supporting documents because they’re mostly bullet points and brief ideas of the progression of the story. Then I use the program to get the basic structure of the scene written. Afterwards, I’d revert to the traditional method of typing to clean it up. Ideally, I would like to get to the point where I could use the program exclusively but I’m a narrator in progress. My narration hero, Monica Leonelle, is able to crank out over a novel a month using this method. Someday I’ll get there, but I’m not there yet. Dramatic sigh, someday.
Finally, let me pass on some of the advice on dictating that I was given. Everyone will tell you that it’s difficult at first but it is a skill you can learn and they’re correct. I’m constantly getting better and it helped sustain my word count during NaNo when time was short and I was behind. First, to do narration well you should probably outline the scene before you get started. Some people will call this your beat, or beating out your scene. I just call it an outline, but whatever you call it, they help. Another thing I did at first was writing the scene by hand and then reading it out loud to the microphone. I found that once I was in the groove, I would be able to keep going past what I’d written by hand. Not where I want to be, but I’m getting ever closer.
I hope this gave you some insight into my process and motivated you to consider the audio narration process. If you do, pop back by and let’s talk about it!
Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!
–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are owned by JR Handley.