Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Here there be Dragon Naturally Speaking and Nano...No

Sorry for the long absence. Things that have changed:

1. My most recent book came out from Lerner/Darby Creek in January.

2. I've been contending with serious arm pain over the last year, and have been trying to get it under control. And that has led to the reason for this post.

To work around bad arm days, I installed Dragon Naturally Speaking 12 (dictation software) on my computers and the accompanying app on my phone. I've dictated one picture book manuscript with it, so I thought I'd give a quick run-down of my opinions of this software.

Hands-free writing!
Once trained, it does a decent job of  following you.
No typing!
Can be used on other programs like Internet Explorer, although I have not tried this yet.
Text can be cut and pasted easily into Scrivener.
No keyboarding!

It has a long-ish learning curve to use it for editing.  You need to spend some quality time with it to remember how to tell it what to do.
You still need to use the mouse for some things.
What if you get laryngitis?
Dictating a novel that you are brainstorming as you go feels weird.

The Mac and the PC version are not on par - the PC version gets better reviews. A work around on the Mac is to buy the PC version and install and run Windows on your machine (requires that you have a copy of Windows OS) under VMWare Fusion (my choice) or Parallels Desktop.  I did this and have it working on both my PC and Macbook Pro.  I save my voice profile on a remote server in the cloud and access it on all my machines.  Handy!

I was hoping the software would be great for doing NaNoWriMo, where editing does not really matter, but my schedule has not complied, so I am hoping to give a longer review when I feel I have really given it a workout.  Also, going back to dictating as you brainstorm - it just feels weird.  Maybe I'll get used to it the more I use it.

Happy Holidays and have a good time writing!

1 comment:

  1. Came across you blog and really enjoyed it. I, too, am a children's writer in the Northwet, servant to two royals. Found this post and just wanted to say that I was having terrible wrist and arm pain too. Thought I was getting early arthritis and had begun researching hands free computer programs...and then for the heck of it tried giving up wheat. It worked. Pain gone within two weeks. May be totally unrelated to your arm pain, but thought I'd share.