Monday, August 10, 2009

My New Writing Technique

My New Writing Technique

First, some general updates. I think my submission for Dawn’s Rise went okay. I didn’t get as hostile a response as last time, and a couple people actually provided some keen insight into what was “missing” from my writing. I think I may have picked up some more beta readers as well, which is always good. Anyone else interested in beta reading Dawn’s Rise please let me know. I do think I shot myself in the foot because my submission was too long and people like to deal with shorter material, so I’ll keep that in mind for next time.

My wife is doing better. Hopefully next week we’ll get the “all clear” to start putting weight on her broken leg. I think it will really help her get around. Having to rely on my lazy butt for everything is driving her up the wall. Things have calmed down a bit and I’ve started to resume a somewhat more normal routine.

I’ve made some decisions as to my running. I don’t think I’m going to compete in any more Triathlons this year. I just don’t have time to train for three sports (run, swim, bike) simultaneously. My new goal is now the Seattle Half Marathon which is the weekend right after Thanksgiving. Having a goal always improves my workouts. I’m going to continue swimming and biking when I can, but only as cross-training at this point.

Finally, about Dawn’s Rise. (Takes deep breath). I’ve written a long blog post that I haven’t posted called “State of the Novel Address”. It’s a long rambly whiny post about how hard editing is, and how many issues I have to address before DR is queryable. My conclusion is that I want DR out to agents by Oct. 1, 2009. I don’t think this is doable but it does give me a goal to shoot for. I have three other projects that are starving for attention, plus a couple other things waiting in the wings.

text2speech-1 Now for the “meat” of the post. I heard about this from other blogs, and unfortunately I can’t find them now to credit them appropriately (but you know who you are…thanks!). I download a text-to-speech app from NaturalSoft. Based on the feedback I’ve received over the last week, I’ve started a complete rewrite of the first few chapters. I stick my writing into the speech app, close my eyes, and listen to the words. It’s amazing how awkward certain phrases sound when read aloud. Now it’s not perfect, far from it. It can’t distinguish homonyms like wind and wind, read and read etc, and of course it stumbles through my made-up words like Eyespy (it says EE-YESP-I), but it’s helped a lot. I guess it’s something about how the brain works listening vs. reading. After all, literature has its roots in spoken word. If anyone has any suggestions for good text-to-speech apps for Vista let me know.


  1. I do that too! It really does help keep the flow going. (Adobe reader also has a text to speech function, but it doesn't do made-up words any better.)

  2. Good for you! And if the new version of scene 1 is anything to go by, the new technique is working. Keep it up!

  3. Huh, I don't think you have the post "text-to-speech" version.

    The scene improvement is more than just from hearing it. It's a couple things:
    1) Giving the characters clear intentions. "We gotta evacuate now!"
    2) Getting deep into the POV of the character. I'm still progressing with this style, but it's coming along. "The sight, while beautiful in calmer moments, suddenly chilled him to the bone."

  4. That text-to-speech app sounds amazing. Sounds like you're making good progress. I think it's good to have a goal date for sending queries. It will help to keep you motivated.

  5. I've thought about getting one (it would be cool to listen to my own novel), but it would probably be almost the same if you just read the book out to yourself. But, if you're as lazy as I am, the text-to-speech app would work. I've also been looking for a speech to text app if anybody knows of any.

  6. Glad to hear the wife is getting better! And the text to speech thing sounds pretty cool. Good luck with your goal of October 1st!

  7. I'm not sure what happened, but somehow your blog (and a few others) got dropped in my Google reader so I've been missing out on your posts.

    Glad to hear that your wife is doing better.

    I'm actually interested to read your State of the Novel Address. Bring it on!

    I had to give up triathlons when we had kids because I just couldn't fit it all in. Now I've had to give up running because of my knee. It's hiking now for me to stay in shape. At least it allows me enough breath to speak into my digital recorder when I have a writing thought.

    Best of luck with the editing. I would be interested in reading Dawn's Rise.

  8. Thanks for the good wishes for my wife.
    Chad-welcome back :)
    I wanted to get back into hiking this year but I couldn't do Tri and hiking, then a number of medical disasters hit.

    The thing the "State of the Novel" address is that I wrote it at a low point. The thing is, things are never as bad as they seem, so it was more just venting than something insightful.

    But this gives me an idea for a new blog post: "Through adversity comes opportunity"
    Or as Nike puts it: No pain, no gain. (although Wikipedia credits Jane Fonda for the phrase)

  9. Great link for the reader. I'm trying it right now. Good luck with the rewrites, don't rush yourself.

  10. Um...can it just be pointed out that even the electronic voice knows that I don't use commas well. What a riot, I love it!

  11. Glad your wife is improving! That is interesting about the write to speech. I was just thinking how much easier it would be to write a book speech-to-write. lol. But then I realized how much editing it would take!

    Anyhow, hopefully when your wife recovers you guys can stop making frequent visits to the hospital!


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