After reading a blurb on Facebook that promoted the speech recognition software Dragon as an invaluable tool for writers, I thought, this is just what I need. After all how many times had I “written” a narrative in my mind only to “lose” it in a few hours? And too, wouldn’t it be easier to simply sit back and “talk” the story out? Of course it would be.
Developed by a company called Nuance, Dragon is relatively inexpensive, and I could load the program on three computers. Therefore my blogger friends, I bought it.
Amazon delivered a brown box in two days. With no small amount of excitement and no great hassle, I loaded the program—in three computers! I was ready.
I perused my story outline carefully making sure I had all the character names down pat. This particular story is one that came to mind only a few days ago. I rechecked the simple plot. I adjusted my headset and clicked on the microphone icon.
Nothing. I had absolutely Nothing to say. My mind was a total blank. The number of words that flashed onto the screen: zero.
My first words into my new Voice Recognition program were, “microphone off!” And it turned off. The little icon went from green to red. My brain remained in the dark. Sigh.
I realized that speaking a creative idea is much harder for me than “thinking” and typing/writing. I tried again. The end result was a wooden dialogue. “Shallow” was the word that came to mind. I went to bed. My dear wife looked up from her paperback book of Sudoku puzzles, over the delicate rim of her glasses, and down at me. “Try again in the morning,” she said. “Everything goes better in the morning.”
She was right. This morning an idea sparked. Do dictation as you would do free writing. Just talk and get into the swing of it. Start a “Dictation Journal.”
With “free speaking” in mind, my morning session went much better. I’ve learned to leave out a lot of punctuation commands—I can always go in and type that stuff in—so I got into it and was mildly surprised at how well the narrative progressed. I had close to a thousand words before the hour was up, and it was much smoother than before. This might be something I can use. After all, John Milton dictated over twenty thousand lines of iambic pentameter to his daughters. How hard can it be? Right?
Now I must ask: Does anyone have any suggestions? Advice? Comments? Please send them on. I’m curious if any of my blogger buddies have tried this sort of thing. Thank you!