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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Taming the Dragon

Years ago, I bought a version of Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking and hated it. The accuracy was deplorable and I gave up in frustration. This would have been maybe 2010? 2009? Somewhere in that time frame.

I'd gone through all the training for the software, I corrected it when it was wrong, I don't have an accent--well, aside from saying Minnesota with the long O, but other than that. :-) People who grew up in Minneapolis (like I did) do not, I repeat, do NOT have that accent you hear in Fargo. So everything should have worked fine for me, but it did not. I gave it about 70% on accuracy at the time and that simply wasn't anywhere close to good enough.

When I was at the writing conference in October (I blogged about it), I heard several authors talk about dictating their stories and how it increased their output. I was intrigued, but somewhat skeptical because of my previous negative experience with the software. Then I heard another author who'd been at the conference give her results about trying it and I was intrigued.

After months of debate, I finally decided to go for it and bought the latest release of Dragon Professional. I did the training paragraph and the tutorial, neither of which took too long, and then I tried reading one of my published stories aloud to train it in my writing style.

OMG, I was pleasantly surprised! The accuracy level had increased dramatically since the previous version I'd owned. I think I might actually be able to use this for writing projects!

I'm going to start slow and use it for making notes on my stories. I'll also use it to do world building and for getting information down about my characters. These are all things I want to do, but get so frustrated typing it all out. Once I get used to thinking through my mouth and not my hands, I'll start using it to write the actual stories.

I'm super excited about this! If I can achieve half the speed that those authors mentioned at the conference, I'd be elated. It wouldn't work for anything but first draft, but the first draft is frequently the hardest part to get down.

Issue two, I'd have to work on my Windows laptop to write and I do all my writing on my MacBook. The Windows laptop is for updating the website, interacting with people on social media, and all the other things I do that are not writing. I love my Scrivener software with all my heart--the Mac version. But if I dictate into Notepad as was suggested, I should be able to cut and paste easily into Scrivener and work from there.

Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself. For right now, I need to train my brain to think story in voice instead of fingers first. That means notes, synopses, backstory, character sketches, etc. first.