World Building Wednesday: Working With Nuance Dragon

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Hey Space Cadets, how’re you all doing today?  I’m doing great, not as consistent on my walks as I would like but the constantly changing temperature and rainy weather is playing heck on my sinuses.  I also made the excuse to myself that I needed to write because I’m behind on my book three goal but that strikes me as missing the forest for the trees.  I did manage to walk a mile today, which is progress.  I was tired, but I managed it in 29 minutes.  A far cry from my Army days but I’ll get better again.

 

I’ve slowed down on Operation Breakout, but I’ve re-committed to using my Nuance Dragon program to write it.  In the end, it will pay dividends for me even if it slows me down just a little bit.  Ultimately, you have to evolve your writing style to suit your needs.  I injured my hand in my infantry days and it’s been bothering me, which has slowed down my typing.  I’ve also changed how I write my novels over the course of two novels, a novella and a short story.  My writing style has grown and my process has evolved, but my inability to get it on the page quickly wasn’t keeping up.  This has forced me to adapt my approach to my new reality, ergo the Dragon text-to-speech approach. 

 

As I struggled to find a way to make it work for me, I consulted the Dragon Nuance Support Center for help.  I realized that part of the problem was that my older version of Dragon wasn’t interfacing as effectively with Windows 10 and the newest Microsoft Word. Because I have faith that I’ll make the Dragon work for me, I plopped down the $150 and bought the latest version. I didn’t have to pay full price, because they gave me a 50% discount for having the older version. The newer copy arrived on Monday, and I’ve been using it since.  I like that it doesn’t have the same issue with my Word document freezing that my older version had.  I’ve only used the latest version on a few blog posts so far, but I’m impressed.

 

I then started doing some active research on how to make the Dragon work better for me, not the “using it” part but the more practical applications of it.  I researched how to think the story out loud, and have my creativity become a verbal process instead of fingers clacking on the keyboard.  During this process, I ran across Scott Baker’s YouTube channel.  It has loads of great advice in there on how to practically use several of the Dragon’s features.  Additionally, I found the Dragon Riders – Authors Dictating group on Facebook which was jampacked with helpful posts and practical tips (Thank you Terry Mixon for showing me this group!).  If this sounds like something you’re interested in, be sure to check out both of these resources.

 

Finally, I recently found out that Scott Baker has a book coming out soon on how to work the Dragon into your creative process.  He’s been pretty helpful on the Dragon Riders group so I’ll be buying this when it comes out and I’ll let you know what I think.  Otherwise, I don’t want to take up too much of your time, so I’ll keep this post short and sweet.  Instead, I’ll leave you with some cool pictures of dragons!

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Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry! 

brown_bess

 JR

 

–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are images owned by JR Handley.

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World Building: Book Dictation

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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.

 

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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!

 

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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!

brown_bess JR

 

 –> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are owned by JR Handley.

   

1.      Dictation: Dictate Your Writing – Write Over 1,000,000 Words A Year Without Breaking A Sweat!

2.      Dragon NaturallySpeaking For Dummies, 4th Edition

3.      5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter (Volume 1)

4.      The Productive Author’s Guide To Dictation: Speak Your Way to Higher (and Healthier!) Word Counts

5.      The Writer’s Guide to Training Your Dragon: Using Speech Recognition Software to Dictate Your Book and Supercharge Your Writing Workflow

6.      Dictate Your Book: How To Write Your Book Faster, Better, and Smarter