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Dictating a novel? May 20, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in Misc, Novel, On Writing, Study, Technology.
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I’ve really been struggling trying to get my novel project into shape the last few days.  When I’m away from the computer I have a million thoughts running through my head, and I feel like I am ready to write the best shit ever.  But as soon as I sit down and start typing, I’ve got nothin’.

The other day, just before heading out, I was taking a shower when I pretty much planned out an entire chapter of my novel in my head, or so I thought.  I was really excited, but I didn’t have time to write anything down because I had to head out immediately.

I was driving when I had an idea.  Using the recording app on my iPad, I started dictating the chapter to my novel that was in my head during the shower.  It was surprisingly effective.  In about 25 minutes, I had more or less dictated the entire chapter.

That night I went home and transcribed it.  It wasn’t great, but at least I got it out of my system and it allowed me to fix it as I went along, almost like editing a rough first draft.

All of this amazed me, considering as a lawyer I never used the dictation systems they had in place because I found it all too hard and awkward.  I also wasn’tMaybe it was just because I didn’t know what to say.

Could this be a new way for me to write?  Has anyone else tried it?

Unfortunately for me, writing first drafts of chapters is no longer my concern anymore.  I now have to actually shape the drafts into good shit, which I have discovered is even harder.  D’oh.

Transcribing is a Ball-Buster September 29, 2010

Posted by pacejmiller in On Writing, Study.
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1 comment so far

Source: open2.net

It’s taken me an entire week to transcribe all the interviews I’ve done in the last over the last month or so (mostly in the last couple of weeks).

There was a mixture of 4 or 5 face-to-face interviews that ranged from 30 minutes to 4 hours, plus a couple of phone interviews that didn’t go for more than 10 minutes.  I thought it would have taken 2 or 3 days at the most, especially since I recorded everything on my Pulse Smartpen, which allows you to reduce the playback speed without compromising the quality of the sound.

But no, it was so much harder than I had anticipated.  Part of it was because I felt like taking a break every 5 minutes, but honestly, transcribing is such a ball-buster.  Not only do you have to type fast and without errors, you also have to keep playing the same sentences over and over again until you can get every word perfectly.  This is important, my teachers tell me, because you never know when you might need a transcript to back up something you’ve written in an article.  It’s good to start practicing early.

And when you listen back on conversations, you realise that people hardly speak in complete sentences.  I don’t know if it’s my subjects in particular (who are all very articulate people), but even putting aside the ers and ums and mumbled words, it was often extremely difficult to piece together sentences because seem to jump all over the place and start and stop without warning.  It makes quote-gathering a rather unenviable task.

Anyway, that’s finally all out of the way.  Now I just have the write the damn articles.

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