Monday, May 10, 2010

Writers software - MacSpeech Dictate

A couple weeks ago I mentioned this software I'd purchased to dictate the end of my book into the computer - the 15000 words I'd handwritten the previous week. As I said, I've had a lot of trouble with my right arm. I've tried to use it less but there's no way I can type with one hand. And if I tried to case the mail with my left hand I'd be six hours getting out of the post office. I can't imagine what a left handed mail person does to deliver the mail because I sit on the right side of the truck, drive and steer from the controls on the left with all the mail sitting behind the steering wheel, and poke the mail in boxes out of the right side window. Hmm.

Linda Faulkner suggested last week that I try writing with my left hand. I did. Here's a sample. Ugh. I know I could get used to it and might even benefit from the right brain release of cool writing creatamones or whatever happens when you use your left hand, but that will take some time.

I finished the handwritten ending on Sunday. Received Dictate on Thursday evening. After only thirty minutes of training the microphone and program to my voice by reading a boring bit of text, I began reading my messy handwriting into the mic. Amazingly, Dictate was more accurate than I was. Even when I stumbled because I couldn't read my own writing, it understood my stumbles accurately. So by mid-afternoon Friday including some training on the fly, I was done. (Because the book is paranormal there were words that had to be fine tuned along with local slang words like my favorite Southern expression - fixin' to.)

In the past I've tried Via Voice, Dragon Naturally Speaking (several versions including DNS 9.0) and IListen. This is the first time I've seen this kind of accuracy. Dictate is based on the DNS engine but Dictate is for Macs only. If you're interested in this type of product for PC you'll want to pickup DNS version 10. One of the secrets to the success of this software is the USB microphone headset.

A bonus - I expect Dictate will be handy when it comes to inserting the notes and text into the document after I've read the hard copy and made my notes. Dictate has its own little notepad from which you can copy and paste but will also dictate straight into Word. I haven't figured out how to use it to dictate all my recorded notes yet but now is the time. My recorder is full of great story ideas and I'm ready to incorporate them into the first rewrite.

No comments: