The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 59 – How to Dictate Your Book

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Dictation and how to use it for writing is a topic that has come up on multiple past episodes, so Autumn and Jesper decided to make it into a full length episode.

In episode 59 of the Am Writing Fantasy podcast, you'll learn what benefits there are in using dictation.

What equipment you need. And how to go about the actual dictation; especially how to handle all the fantasy names.

Tune in for new episodes EVERY single Monday.

SPECIAL GIVEAWAY

And here's the link to the special giveaway: www.patreon.com/AmWritingFantasy.

Everyone who signs up to support the Am Writing Fantasy podcast before the 23rd of February 2020, will get the chance to win a free writing course.

The Ultimate Fantasy Writers guide will teach you everything you need to know about writing a fantasy novel.

Here are links to what Jesper use for dictation:

Handheld recorder: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Olympus-WS-852-Digital-Voice-Recorder-Silver-Large-LCD-Screen-and-Speaker/333224752740?epid=2255359847&hash=item4d95be3664:g:9b4AAOSwNmxZuB3z

Headset: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Andrea-NC-185VM-Black-Headband-Headset/183446856673?epid=129519208&hash=item2ab648e3e1:g:lIMAAOSwI~Bbn-wv

Mini fur to block out wind noise: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NMUUIRK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_ep_dp_jik-ybTJQM13A

Dragon Natural Speaking software: https://www.nuance.com/dragon/business-solutions/dragon-professional-individual.html

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Read the full transcript below.

(Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).

Narrator (2s): You're listening to the amwritingfantasy podcast in today's publishing landscape, you can reach fans all over the world. Query letters are a thing of the past. You don't even need in literary agent. There is nothing standing in the way of making a living from writing. Join two best selling authors who have self-published more than 20 books between them. Now onto the show with your hosts. Autumn Birt and Jesper Schmidt.

Jesper (30s): Hello. I am Jesper and I'm Autumn. This is episode 59 of the amwritingfantasy podcast and we have a topic that came up over and over and over again in past episodes. That is dictation. Um, I think it has come up as side comments more often than, well, I dunno just about anything else on past episodes. So we thought we better turn it into a full episode and that is how to use dictation for your.

Writing was there a knee better medium than a podcast to talk about dictating your novel? I think this is perfect. Yeah, it's, it ties in pretty well, doesn't it? I think so. It's like we planned this or something.

Autumn (1m 17s): Uh, I, I, I feel like it's fate that plan itself because I mean, I, I honestly, I was trying to think earlier today how many times the dictation has been both these sort of side comments in the past and it's just, I don't know. But it's been a lot of times. Yeah. I mean, I think I could name three or four off the top of my head, so that's, that is quite a lot actually. It's at least on our minds. I'm not sure about our listeners, but we'll see. Yeah. Yeah. But, but I think this will, this is going to end up being quite an interesting conversation because a well, I use, Oh, I do dictation myself.

And and I know autumn you've sort of tried it a bit, but I also feel like you might not be the biggest fan of it. Yeah. I think we'll have a nice wide perspective of our thoughts on dictation. Yeah, yeah. That's good. That's good. I liked a, but first of all a I wanted to, so I want to hear just how, how, how have you weeping autumn Oh, it's been good. Good. My parents came up to Vermont, which is always am. So that's where I'm staying right now.

And it's a seven and a half hour drive. So of course I'm like so nervous parents on the road that long. They're getting a little older, which always when you see them in person, you see that, you see the truth of that no matter how many times did you face time someone did I do that in one stretch. They are hardcore travelers. When I was a teenager and we drove from the East coast to the West coast and back on a two week trip. Um, so you know, so that's where you get to 7,000 miles.

Yeah, my wandering ways are very legit. It was great to have them come up and it was, it's been a long, long, long time since am. I've hosted them actually in a place I was living, um, probably almost a decade. So it's been a long time. I've stayed with them, but actually have them here and be, the host was very different and it's, it's not a huge apartment. It's a two bedroom with one bath. So it was a lot of thank goodness her family all right.

Put up and stuff. But it was great having the up and showing him around the Brattleboro in the town. So I thought it was great having some family time. How was it?

Jesper (3m 31s): That's good. Um, it's been good in general, but I think as well that we've had a bit of a, what seems like a streak of bad luck when it comes to injuries. And yeah. On the, on the previous podcast episode, I shared how I hurt my wrist above that amount is better. Yeah. It's, it's, it's still not 100%. Okay. But it's pretty good now it's minus stuff. But then last Monday, uh, we came back home from soccer practice and, uh, my youngest son started complaining that he's a his knee was hurting.

Oh, no. Yeah. And then I was like, okay, that's, that's not good, you know, try and, you know, sit on the couch and relax for a bit and stuff like that. Right. Whatever else you think to do. And then a couple of hours went by and um, and it was still sort of just hurting. So he went to bed in the evening and then the next day when he, uh, got up in the morning, he just couldn't walk. Oh no. Yeah. So it was, it was really bad. So we start off okay. We a so he of course did not go to school because you could not walk anywhere.

So a we took him to the doctor and a so I'm going to try this out. So he said it was a sprained cruciate ligament.

Autumn (4m 55s): I hope that's how you pronounce it. Pretty close. I actually, we had a dog who sprained his crew. She, uh, you didn't see, I'm not gonna pronounce it either, but ligament as well. So that's not a, that's a long injury to heal from.

Jesper (5m 8s): Yeah, I Googled that translation by the way, cause I have no idea what it was called in English, but uh, but yeah, I mean the, so the doctor said that he should just rest, um, would see then did last week and it probably took like, I dunno, five days or something. Then the pain was gone. So he does not have any pain anymore and he can walk around completely normal. Um, but the doctor told us last week, so this week meeting the week after the pain has gone, he still needs to take it easy because otherwise it can come back.

So he's not allowed to play soccer practice this weekend. I can tell you that somebody is not very happy about that. Uh, but in general, you know, just trying to get him to take it easy to do. It's just imagine how easy that is to tell the young boy that you can't run around

Autumn (5m 58s): too much and peace, you know, settled out. It's just, it's not easy. At least he understands English tricep telling that to a small current terrier. Who? Liz. Very feisty. So, Oh yeah. You might be able to reason with your kid. Especially I know how passionate he is about soccer, so yeah, he loves it. Yeah. Maybe I know it's going to great him, but it's like never play again or just don't play this week now. Maybe never again. It's a bit too far, but, but I did tell him today, you know that well, the reason that you can't go to soccer it is because if you go to soccer then it might get worse and then it's going to end up taking even longer before I can get back to playing a so you, you're sacrificing one week so that you can pick it back quickly.

Uh, he seemed to accept that though. Excellent. I can't be reasoned with at least try to sit there and pop them, pop some balls off of his head or something. Maybe just he's not a dark, you know, that's my experience. I only know dogs. Yeah, that's what I meant. Oh, we go on the internet with the amwritingfantasy.

Podcast okay. So today we have something really special to announce. So if you are listening to this episode on the day that it releases and that will be the 10th of February, 2020, then yesterday on the 9th of February, we opened a very special reward. Don't do you want to tell what it is? Autumn what do you want me to, Oh, do you go ahead. I just can't drink of tea anyway.

So, okay. So basically what we're going to do is that we are going to offer one free seat in our premium writing cost, the ultimate fantasy writers guide. I'm so excited about this because I love new students and I know how much someone loves getting a spot in this course, especially for free. So I think this is a really big giveaway. Yeah. So this is a, uh, wow. Remind me again autumn what is it, six $700 normally for the seat and the cost, right?

Oh, $600 yes. Five 97 yeah. 97. Yeah. So you give away, you get five, five 97 for free. Um, by basically what we, what you need to do is that you need to sign up to become a patron supporter. So everybody who signs up to become a patron supporter between the 9th of February, 2020 and the 23rd of February, 2020 day, we'll get their name in the pot and we will draw one random winner at am, uh, to

Jesper (8m 56s): win this receipt of the ultimate fantasy writers guide course. Yes. And good.

Autumn (9m 3s): This is not just writing. I think we should tell it. Let people know about that. It's not just like how to write, but it's just about to ask you if you could explain what this entails. Let's see. I was just somehow reading your mind from how many thousands. So we should look up, we should Google. We are from each other. That'd be hilarious. But yes, so it's six modules on how to write, how to develop an idea to write the beginning, the middle, the end to make sure you, you really develop and create a good story as well as character and world-building cause it is geared towards fantasy writers and then there are modules on how to grow your fans, how to do marketing and outreach, how to do editing and then even one on formatting and covers and all those things you need to know for publishing.

And then I'm going to final one module on how to grow your author platform and you know, become more professional and not just, you know, if you really want to become a full time author or even just make this more of a business model, it's you know, how to grow your platform that way as well. So it's 12 modules and like I said, it covers everything from, I have this idea too, I have several books under my belt and this is my brand, so it's really cool. I love it's a one stop shop on how to write.

Jesper (10m 21s): Yup, absolutely. So everybody who becomes a patron within between this eight 9th of February, sorry, and the 23rd of February, I will get their name in the pot as I said. And you might end up the lack of winter, but there's actually more than that because every single one who signs up during this timeframe, we'll also get a copy of the ebook copy of our upcoming guidebook on how to plot a novel. So whether you win the seat in the guy costs or not, you will, no matter what, get that ebook of the plotting book as soon as it comes out is scheduled to come out a bit later this year.

But you will get it as soon as it comes out. So you are guaranteed to win something.

Autumn (11m 6s): Yeah. Which we like I everyone should get something to take home with them. Yeah.

Jesper (11m 12s): And of course all the normal rewards that we are offering over on Patrion is applicable as well too. Of course going to get all of those as well. Once you sign up, you can see those on the patron pays itself. Those are link in the show notes. Um, and I, I guess I should also point out that once we do release this a guide on how to plot a novel, we're going to charge nine 99 for it so you can get into Patrion and this special reward for $1. So it's sort of a no brainer really.

Autumn (11m 43s): It's worth it for to sign up and yeah, you'll get some great stuff. Not to mention, I mean we've been doing posts and stuff on there for what a year now and it's, there's a lot of information just to read through. If you went back to the beginning and started there.

Jesper (12m 2s): Oh yeah, there was a lot of information in there and a also at the $5 tier you get access to the monthly a Q and a sessions. Uh, so those are also in there, those recordings for you of all the past Q and A's that you can listen to as well. That's true. That, that's some good stuff. Yeah. Um, and I guess also very important too to note is that a by joining on Patrion, you're also helping to ensure that uh, autumn and I will keep the amwritingfantasy podcast going. So there is that as well,

Autumn (12m 34s): which is very important to knowing you, I hope. But to us it lets us know how much you appreciate what we're doing.

Jesper (12m 42s): Yeah, absolutely. So as I said, there's a link in the show notes, so just go and check that one out and see if you want to support us there. Uh, and to remember the offer disappears on the 23rd of February. So we're going to talk about dictation. Autumn.

Autumn (13m 4s): Yes, we are. We're going to talk about dictation. That's really actually cut. My dad would appreciate that. Thank you. What about talking, talk about talking about, yeah, long talking, writing talking. So I don't know, before we get into all of this stuff around dictate should we just start out maybe by what is our own experience with dictation

Jesper (13m 24s): then what have we used it for and why before we talk about any, well, all the advice stuff I guess,

Autumn (13m 31s): I guess, I mean some of mine will come up with am the pros and cons is I saw it, but I can try to keep, save those for the end. And I will just say the, the cold facts of what I've done with dictation and maybe why I tried to do it. But it's up to you do, you've been doing this longer than I have and I don't know if you want to start with why you picked up dictation and what your, what you think of it so far.

Jesper (13m 59s): Yeah. Uh, so at, well there's a bit of story attached to that actually because, um, I don't quite remember when it was exactly. It's pro, it's probably a year ago, maybe more to be honest. A I'm not quite sure, but I had one day where, uh, well I woke up in the morning and then my index finger was completely stiff, so, and it took like, you know, like I went to the showers and all that, brush my teeth and so forth.

Then I started to move it a BA being able to move it again and uh, and it, it happened for a while. Like that, you know, every morning I woke up, I would have a stiff finger and I was thinking like, Oh, this is not good. Right. I mean, if you want to earn a living as a writer, then it's not good that you are, you're not able to, right. No time for you. Yeah. So, so I was a bit concerned, uh, not, not that all of a sudden like that out of the blue, that a I would have issues with my fingers just like that all. But I was more like thinking longterm, right?

That I was concerned if I'm feeling stiff fingers already now at this age, you know, how, how is it going to be in 10 years if I keep writing all this stuff. Uh, and, and if, if you lose your ability to write and, you know, I was pretty concerned where would, where would that lead to? And that was actually how I started thinking about and why I started doing the dictation was just because, well, I guess you could call it a health reason like that because I just, yeah, I just wanted to wealth be a bit more gentle on my fingers.

That was one thing. But the other thing is that usually when, for example, if I have conference calls or phone calls and stuff like that, I like to walk around because I feel like when I'm walking I'm thinking better. There's probably, it's just probably just me telling myself that that's true, but, but I, I just feels like I'm thinking better when I'm walking, so, and, and moving about as well, instead of sitting in front of the computer all the time in front of a keyboard. I also felt that that would probably be better for me in the longterm.

So that was the other reason that I picked it up. So, yeah.

Autumn (16m 14s): Oh, that's still a good story. I, I, I didn't actually know that. Why you started it because I think am for me it was one, I knew you were doing dictation but you're not the only person I know. And there's been so many authors. Um, Joanna Penn has done a podcast on a blog post on why she does dictation and why she moved to it. And so many people have said that they write so much faster. They use time that they might not have been using otherwise. So you can kind of fit it in maybe in different ways.

If you have a hard time sitting down at your keyboard, you know, technically you could go dictate while you're making dinner, as long as you're, you know, you've got the microphone and something cook hooked up, or if you're taking a walk or, I was thinking about it on my commute. I have currently an hour drive each way. And I was thinking, well, I could try dictation I mean, my brain's ruling about it usually about my stories are what I'm working on anyway. So why don't I give that a try? And all these other people are doing it and they're saying it is so much faster and they're like getting a book out in a month, you know, or you're, you know, you're doing so many more, maybe 5,000 words in a session or it's just going so much faster.

Even if he did a whole chapter, uh, you know, sometimes just sit down and write, type out a chapter. A talking if you're organized is so much faster than typing so that you could actually have this much more work done if you dictate. And so that's, I was like, darn, that's it. I'm giving this a try. So that's what brought me to dictation.

Jesper (17m 46s): Alright, OK. yeah. Uh, I mean, so basically,

Autumn (17m 53s): well I really like it. I guess that's, that's what I can, I mean I, it's a lot more productive. Um, and I don't, one of the things, and I don't know, some people, I think some writers she had his challenge with me, but the others probably don't. But when I'm typing stuff, I often find myself, you know, my, my thinking is way ahead of my fingers. So, and then sometimes I struggled to remember what, what was it that I just started, I wanted to write here and then I sort of pause because I have to think again because I'm usually like three, four sentences ahead of how fast I can type.

And that's really annoying because it disrupts my flow all the time. Whereas when I'm speaking or dictating, I can just keep up with my trail of thought. So it's, it's a lot easier. I could see that. And I think so you've definitely found a use for it and I've got a I can give some pros and cons too. When I think it works, and when I think it doesn't work in my why, it might not be the best fit for the way my mind works, which will admit, might be the only mine like mine on the planet, but probably not probably there somewhere out there whose as kooky as me.

But I know part of what I came up against when I first started looking at this was people talk about dictation, so what are you dictate into? And I ended up sending you this email saying, okay, how do you do this? When I started doing some research thing, how do I even get started with this? So you can, can you tell people how you're doing your dictation in terms of equipment? Yes. Yeah. Okay. So by the way, I can, I'll, I'll put links in the show notes to all of this a equipment stuff as well, so people can go on and find it.

Um, but so what I use is that I use a handheld recorder, uh, in my case, I use Olympus a w S eight, five two a. So it's just like a pretty small and simple handheld recorder um, and then I used to stand at headset because then as I said before, then I can move around a and I have equipped that headset with a mini for show that the blocks out any wind noise because a I have actually been walking outside dictating books as a, I mean, people might look a bit weird when you're walking by and talking about somebody slaying dragons from what bad, but that's life should be that interesting.

Yes. But a so I equipped the a headset with that mini for a to block out the wind noise. Um, and then of course a the main thing here is that you need a dictation software, meaning like a speech to text software a and here I use dragon natural speaking a because that is by far the best software onto market. There's nothing that does a dictation as well as a dragon naturally speaking.

Um, and that's basically what I use. So in total, this is going to set you back something like a little bit less than $400, I think. Um, and of course the main expense here is the software, the dragon naturally speaking. Um, but of course if you don't have money for that, you might be able to find some secondhand version on eBay or something like that. Yeah. And that's what it to just give it a try. I wanted to start cheaper and so I looked at am Google drive actually has a pretty, you know, it's still Google and so it has a half decent, um, text to speech.

Yes. And then I ran into the problem where even if I wanted to do the dragon am dictation software, I can't because I'm on a Mac and they killed their Mac platform about two or three years ago. So you can only buy it for a PC and that just, this is me off, but we won't go there. They have something new called dragon anywhere, which is am text to type. So it actually, you don't have to record it where the, what you're doing, it's actually kind of neat.

You literally, you're just talking into a microphone. It is recording it and it's not turning itself off or anything else. And it's, you don't see what it's doing, where the dragon anywhere your live talk to type, so as you speak it is translating onto a page and if you're looking at it, you will then look at it and be a little bit distracted or you'll see the spelling errors. And so I really think if you're going to do dictation, you want something where you're literally just talking into something and you're not going to see the visual, otherwise you get incredibly distracted.

And I would save with the Google drive option, which I did try out first because, Hey, I already had it. It's already set up on my phone. It has the problem where once you pause, if you're, if you're a pauser and you need to think about the next sentence or just something, it'll just turn itself off. So then you have to press the button again and get it going again. And then you see what you've been talking and it's just, yeah, that's, I think you really, if you're going to do this, you need to find a way of being able to talk to something and then upload that sound file am to something else that's going to translate it because otherwise you're going to get way too frustrated and too caught up in looking and reading at what you just did and see that it shouldn't translate something.

Right. And especially when you get like my current work in progress has a lot of Gaelic and native American names and I'm sorry, will you ask a at a, Hey, Google drive does not know what to do with that. Where the dragon software, you can teach it to recognize those words and it's a lot of time investment, but you, if you're really going to write 80,000 words or a whole series, you can get it up to speed on what you're talking in will actually spit it out perfectly. But it dragon anywhere and that was the other problem.

Dragon anywhere requires an internet connection. And where my life takes me, I don't have that all the time, so I could not actually use it at times. And I think that's what dragon anyways, a subscription service. It is a monthly fee. I don't like that personally. I like to just buy the software and then I own it. And I was very disappointed that it didn't have the capabilities as the dragon your. I'm using the natural speaking I w you know, if it had a subscription where I could then use like the upload the file and have it translate, I would've been, we would've been worth a month, month for me just to give it a good earnest trout.

Yeah. Yeah. But it doesn't have that capability. It is literally just the talk to type and it doesn't have the upload. And so it was very frustrating when you're stuck in this world of so many different platform users. My parents are online X and or left in Lennox and so yeah, there's a lot of people not using PCs. Hello? Dragon are you listening? Yeah. Yeah, I, I, there was, there used to be an Apple version of it though. They killed it.

They killed it because they couldn't get it to work properly. I mean, I was making too many mistakes and all that, so, so they, they killed it, put it online. Maybe there's a market for it, I'm sure that they will or something, but just want to play around for a bit, uh, testing it, you know, you can use the Google docs. A iOS software also has the building dictation software that is powered by CV. Yeah. So you can play around with it like that or even use dragon anywhere if that's, you know, just four months or something.

So just dragon anywhere has, it does have a 14 day free trial. So I did give that a go. I love it when people do do that, uh, to the, you know, they give you a chance to drive it. So I did use the dragon anywhere and just consciously made sure I was somewhere with internet connection when I gave it a go. But it was very, like I said, it's, it would be so much better to be able to do it. Like you're doing it. And I think Joanna Penn, it literally talking into a recorder and then uploading that file. Yeah. Because basically the way it works on my end is that I have my handheld recorder and I just talk into that one and then once I'm done a I just stopped the recording and I plug it into the USB port of my computer and then it just transcribes the whole thing into a, into a document.

Right. So it's, it's perfect. Um, but unfortunately I would say that at this point in time, or at least when we're recording this, maybe it'll change. So probably will change in the future, I'm pretty sure. But right now dragon natural speaking is the only proper software, I think if you want to dictate an entire novel that is usable, otherwise you can use other things like we talked about. But you know, I don't think you're going to get an optimal result without dragon naturally speaking.

Yeah. And I can say, having just done the research, I think in December that, or maybe it was even November, but it was still very recently that there were a couple other ones that talk about being novel, but for reviews and comments, uh, dragon is, is the way to go. And it really has a good solid platform where if you're going to do something that's 80 to a hundred and some thousand words, it's, it's designed to handle that where so many of the other ones are more for spreadsheets and business reports.

So there are like 5,000 to 10,000 words and that's, that's really what they were designed to handle. But there's a few who are trying really hard to compete. But I think for what people were saying, just being able to transcribe the words into sentences, the way you're saying it a dragon is definitely still the best. I think Google was coming up second because they do use their AI am deep thought that, you know, they're really, they're getting very, very good. Google is an understanding what you're saying, but they're not actually quite as good as dragon for a for this text to type or talked to tight.

No, indeed on me. And the last thing you want to be annoyed about when you're trying to dictate an entire novel is to software. So if you're getting annoyed with it would be like having a faulty keyboard and trying to write a novel. Right. I mean you don't want to deal with that, so yeah. Yeah. And I know they'd go ahead. Yeah, no, I was just saying maybe I could just talk a bit about training your dragon software because I'll have to assume for the rest of this episode that we're talking about trying to drive himself where because of not much else makes sense to me.

Yeah. That was going to ask, cause I saw even when I was doing the research that there were really two minds about how you do the dictation. And there was some, actually I think Joanna Penn, um, and a few other authors just literally talk the way we're talking right now. And they don't worry about saying period, a space, new paragraph, but I think you do something differently. So maybe this is where you're heading. Yeah. Well, yeah, we can get into all that, but, but what I wanted to say first was essentially, so when you get your dragon software, you basically have to train it a bit because there are, well like me, of course I'm not even native English speaker, but so, so, but, but even if you are native English speaking, there was a lot of different, um, uh, well what do you call it?

Like not slang but a dialects, dialects and accents. Everyone's a little different. Yeah. So, so the software need to learn how you are pronouncing words. Um, and if you take a bit of time to actually train the software a, then you can get a very, very accurate result. So I think my dictation is about 99%

Jesper (29m 42s): accurate when I dictate. It's very, very rare that software makes any mistake. Um, the few times it happens, then it's usually because either I'm speaking way too fast, which I have a tendency to do. Uh, if I don't sort of remind myself to at least pronounce the words properly a then sometimes it is the software might misunderstand me or if I'm out walking in, the wind is blowing straight into the microphone. And of course if it goes wrong, right? But, uh, but it's like 1% of the time.

So usually it works wonders. Um, and then I would say what you do is that you take a few chapters of your writing and you use that as a training of four, the software basically. So when, once you're, once you're starting the, the, the software will actually ask you to just start dictating some stuff so that they can learn a your way of pronouncing words.

And they are, I'm, I'm saying, take your own book you wrote yourself and then start dictating that because then the software will learn your way of writing because what you wrote is also when you start dictating your novel, it's going to be sort of in the same way of, you know, it's the same word to using. It's the same way you are speaking. Um, so you might as well train it from the get go on your work rather than some other author's work.

So don't, don't pull down a random book from the bookshelf and start dictating the wasted opportunity. Yeah. If you don't have a novel, then just write 3000 words of random stuff, know it ran at random story or whatever, and then use that as you are method. That sounds good. A yeah. And then once you're done with that, then you need the software to transcribe, uh, then it actually does allow you to basically connect straight into Scribner.

We talked Scrivener and episode 54, if anybody needs some input on that, but it does allow you to do that. But I actually don't, I always pull up a clean note pad and then I asked the software to, to describe into the notepad rather than into Scribner. And then I copy paste from the notepad into Scribner. And the reason I do that is because I don't want to have any conflicting functionality between Scribner and dragon. So when dragon transcoders transcribes it, there is no like software on the other side, so to speak, that it might have any conflicts with.

So an note pap, there's no software, so it's just transcribing and and that works best. So that's how I do it, at least it sounds pretty good. And so when you were saying with dictation you then you do put in your periods and you tell open quotes and quotes.

Autumn (32m 41s): And so how do you, how long did it take you to get used to talking your punctuation? Well, actually not as long as you think. Ah, yeah. Uh, yeah, I, I don't remember exactly how long I spent getting used to it, but it came pretty quickly. Uh, but I think Myles will vary on this. You know, every person will be a slightly different. So some people will find it very difficult where others may be like me, I found it quite easy. Um, but the thing is that if you want to start using dictation then it's not a thing that you try one time and then you give up thinking that, wow, okay I tried it.

That doesn't work. You know, give it at least a week or two if you're dictating every day and then go for it for a week or two and see. And then you can decide afterwards that if it doesn't work for you that that's fine. But it's PR dictation is not for everyone for sure. But I also believe that a lot of people, they just give up too fast because it is different and you need to train your brain to do it. Yes. That would be my biggest comment too is even if you decided to go with, uh, Joanna Penn who doesn't do the punctuation and you just talk, cause that was what I was willing to just start with that and just narrate a story.

So you're basically telling a story to you know, the wind and just go ahead and tell, speak your book. And I still kind of am in love with that idea, but I did find like my tips, if you're going to give this a try, you should have some pretty, I think it'd be harder to be a pantser unless you're really good pants are, but you should have an idea of where your story is going because you can get off track or get lost very quickly. And like I said in the worst thing you can do is actually have it doing the talk to text where you're seeing it put out what you're doing.

So you don't want to do that. You want to be able to talk right into a microphone and you want to be able to sit down and focus. I, you cannot do this while you're driving. Trust me, that's very dangerous. So do this while you're walking or sitting outside or sitting at home or you know, you, you really, especially until you get this going and used to it, you need to consider it your writing time. And it's not just a shortcut. You need to really work on this and focus, but you, it's, to me it's worse. It's so much easier to get lost in off track.

But that's also because from my own learning abilities, I learned better. And why when I see it in front of me, I need to actually read a when I, when people speak to me, I actually do not comprehend it as well until I write it down and then it clicks in my brain. Somehow it becomes cemented. And so the dictation ended up being almost difficult that way because I'm usually, I'm the memory, uh, you will have to Yesper ask me like, did, how did, why don't remember what we talked about. And I'm the one who remembers, I'm the, with my husband, I am the memory, but when I only hear it spoken, I don't remember it as well.

So I was thinking I was getting lost in my own story. I thought it would be easy cause usually when I'm writing, I have the whole scene playing in my head like a movie and I'm just getting it out. I'm just trying to keep up with the characters and saying what I'm seeing. And so I'm like, obviously it'll be so much faster to just say what I'm seeing, but I would get lost. Like, did I say that? Did I? I was, I would get so complicated, like not remembering what I was trying to get to that I actually like typing.

I actually do like typing. I hate to say it and I'm a fairly fast typists. I mean I can go over 60 words a minute if I'm typing fast. I've done up to 90 words a minute. So I'm a really fast typist, so I usually do keep up with my thoughts and I, if I get a thought that's ahead of time, I just write it down that I jump in. I fill in backspacing so my writing is not always front to back. It's sometimes front to middle to front, to end, to middle, to front end. Um, I'm very, I hate to admit how chaotic I am.

It sounds horrible, but I am not as linear as I thought I was. And trying to dictate a chapter from front to back. I realized how much I'm not linear and again, I think I could train my brain to do it, but definitely not having access to the software that would have made it easy or was kind of made it a huge challenge I think for me. But I would definitely say if you're going to do this B serious work on a scene at a time and have an idea of where you want to go, if you, if you're good at winging things, I'm pretty good at winging things.

I, I always show up at the podcast with half-baked ideas and somehow we get to the end of it every time. But for the book where I am kind of a hybrid and I liked the plot and I kind of know where it's going, it dictation was a real huge challenge that I have put aside for Monday for now. It sounds great and I'd like to give it a try again, even though I don't have a PC in my life at the moment. So I, I again, I'm just going to put a baby though too. Hey, dragon cop base. Um, maybe if they do the cloud based software system where I can use what you're using, I think it would definitely be worth trying again.

But for the moment, I kind of like my, especially right now where my writing time is very limited and I can just come back, see where I left off and go am and I don't need anything else but my laptop, I'm really good with that. So that's where I met with my dictation. It's, I think it's sounds so good. I'd love to, I have this visualization of going out into the woods and just talking to the tree is telling my story to the world and having it flow. And that has not happened yet.

I don't know. But, uh, and, and I, I think everybody, you know, everybody

Jesper (38m 37s): is finding their own way through it in the end. That's fine. I mean for me at least I asked you said before, I think it's important to to dictate the comers, the full stops and all of that stuff, because when you get into the editing afterwards, if you don't have all the customers and the stops in the paragraph changes in there and all that, it's just, it becomes one big mess for me. It does. It's just like, Whoa, what is going on here? And the stream of consciousness.

Yeah. And then, yeah, I just don't like that. I like it though. At least there was some structure in there. Some of the comments will definitely be wrong and all that, but, but at least there was, it reads like sentences and it reads like a story. Right? A it's, it does not read like a complete mess. Um, because that, that's the other part about it. You know, that the dictation for me is a tool for first drafting it. I've tried to use it actually also for editing and Oh my God, what an eye matches that.

Really, you should the look on my face when you said that. Yeah, that was a complete nightmare. So I remember going to do that again, but it is for first drafting and and because it is for first drafting. Then I also feel that it's important to just keep the flow going. And that ties in with what you just said before because you are absolutely right that at least for me, it helps a ton to know exactly where I'm going. So when I start dictating a chapter, I know where it starts, I know exactly what's going to happen in the chapter and I know where it ends.

So basically all I do is I need to fill in the blanks, which does mean for me. Uh, my, the plotting takes quite a long time because it's very detailed. But I would almost say that if you took a novel and you'd pulled out all the descriptions and all the, you know, the, all the am dialogues and all the description of, of how the characters are feeling, then you have my plot are plotting because it's so Dita.

It's explaining everything that happens. A and all I need to do when I'm dictating is basically putting in what the characters are seeing. And what they're hearing and what they're feeling and their thoughts, and then the dialogue of course. But other than that, everything is in my outline already. And here of course, I fully understand that we are all very different than we find out way, and that's perfectly fine, but at least if you know where you're headed, that makes a difference as well. With the dragon software, the dragon software does not close down because you're stopping.

So it doesn't matter actually, if you stop and you think for 60 seconds about what you want to say, and then you continued the software, we'll just, you know, not trust or 60 seconds so it doesn't matter. So it's not like your foster it going all the time. What do you just stop and you think that's, that's absolutely fine. But if we're talking about that we want to dictate with a high word count per session, then of course if you're stopping too much to think about things, then that slows down your production.

Right? So yeah, my MA's will, it'll vary how you go about it, but a set up. But also to come back to the unique fences you were, we talked that you mentioned earlier, because I have a trick that I use there, um, because especially with fantasy, uh, we have a lot of, we had words, no, really? Yeah. Well I'm like character names, place names and all the weird stuff that we come up with. Um, and it's, it's a bit of a nightmare to train the software to understand what it means because at well then you would need to pronounce it exactly the same way every time.

And you probably, you don't even do it at a SDR the yourself. No, probably not. No. So what I do is that I take a, uh, a small index card and then I make translations on it. So for example, if our wealth flower coming series, um, our main character is real. So I would just write on my index card rail and then I would write equal hero because he's the main character, right? So whenever I come to, I need to dictate his name.

I would just say open brackets, hero, close brackets, and then continue. And then once I've transcribed the whole thing, then I'll just do a search and replace in word and say, please, you know, replace this with a rail. And then that's it. And you and I do the same for all the different places. A so I could just write, for example, one of the city I could translate into just being capital or you know, a small city, big city, whatever.

I mean I have them on my index card so I know what it means, what it is. So while I'm dictating, I'm, I'm carrying my next card and whenever I need to save the words, I just take a quick peek at the annex cotton, then I'll say the, uh, the, the, the replacement word instead. Right. And so that just keeps the flow going and it makes sure that you don't end up with a, some sort of weird transcription when you're going back to a to edit that you don't even know what is the city person I'm talking about here. I have no idea. Right.

And I have to write that in the past is it's really annoying when you're trying to, you know, edit a chapter that you, you dictated like a three weeks ago. What is this? Yeah. That, that's actually really, I bet that helps speed it up. And that's a really good tip. Yeah. And the other thing I do also to just keep the flow, which I'm sure autumn is going to get so annoyed when she gets no, but what I do just to keep

Autumn (44m 33s): the flow going is that a I don't really, unless it comes to me straight out, then I don't really stop much for to describe setting. So if they, for example, approaching a castle or something, I won't usually stop too much in my dictation flow to think about what the castle looks like. A instead, I'll just say like open brackets, insert description of castle here close brackets. I can't wait for this. I know you're gonna love it.

It's rough draft and it's like, Oh fuck off this description. I have that. I know exactly where I need to be. I guess who or what I'll be adding. Yeah. But, but it's basically, I mean the, the intent of it is, is just to keep the flow going and, and what exactly what the cast looks like, doesn't matter for the story to be told. You know, you can handle that in the editing and there you can, you can think more about, okay, what would it look like? And because also when you, you're dictating, you often say what just comes to you and what comes to you is to cliches as well.

And that's why I prefer not just do it while dictation because it's, it becomes very filled with cliches. So let's go for the moment of truth considering you have plotting and then you have all this description and stuff. You have to put it on the back end. Do you really think dictation is faster than typing? I think if you are dictating, no, sorry. If you're applauding, I should say like I do then I think it might be a slightly faster, but probably not a lot because it takes me a long time to product level because I explained that before.

Right? So you're very detail. If you're one of the writers who you can get by with a plotting each of your chapters with like 10 bullet points and you just know where it stops and you know a bit about what happens in the middle and you know where it ends. If, if you, if you feel comfortable with your plotting at at that level, then I think it will be a lot faster to dictate uh, because you, you, you know, essentially you could plot your entire novel in probably a week if you're okay with just bullet points. Um, and then you just start dictating and you can, it's not difficult at all.

If you spent like two to three hours dictating, it's not difficult to do four or 5,000 words. That's, that's pretty easy. And you have to write pretty fast. If you're going to write 5,000 words in two hours, then you print them fast if you can do that. Um, so it's not, yeah. In terms of speeding up, it really helps a lot in, in, in that way. Well, that's fair enough. Well. So I think it's probably if, if it's something you want to try, I think it might be worthwhile. And like I said, I, I struggled with it and I gave it a a, gave it a good college try, but it's not going to work for me at the moment, but I'm willing to go back to it at some point to give it another try.

Cause I still have this, this idea in my head, but definitely am I want to do the dragon naturally speaking and until I can do that, I guess I'm just kind of waiting. Hello. It's definitely still intriguing, but I have to vent. I still kind of like typing.

Jesper (47m 50s): Nope, that's perfectly fair. So I think in conclusion, you know, am the main thing is here that you, you sort of need to know where you're going in advance, whether you plot in detail like I do or a bit more high level that's up to you, but, but know where you're going in advance. Otherwise I don't think dictation will help you much. Um, and then I would advise you to use some placeholder words instead of your. Wonderful fats. And then of course a above all, you need the right equipment because otherwise it's not gonna work, especially when it comes to dictation software.

And unfortunately Mac users, I, I'm not sure it's going to be well for you for the time being, but a we're waiting to pick up the show notes then a I will have link all the equipment that I personally use there. Uh, there will be some things to eBay's and stuff too, but it's basically just to show you the products though. There was no Fillion there is no affiliate links there. You see, if I had take been dictating the evidence, dragon would not understand what I said. That's right. But there was no affiliate links.

That's what I was about to say. A it is just to show you the product names. And if you don't show up on eBay, that doesn't matter. Just write down the product name and find it wherever else you shop instead. It's pretty commonplace products DS that I use, so there's nothing special in it. So I think that's am that's the word. And dictation sounds good. Talk to you next week. Absolutely. So we'll be back next week and the next one day, we're going to take a closer look at editing and which different types of editing is available to you.

Narrator (49m 29s): If you like what you just heard, there's a few things you can do to support the amwritingfantasy podcast. Please tell a fellow author about the show and visit us at Apple podcast and leave a rating and review. You can also join Autumn and YJesper on patreon.com/amwritingfantasy for as little as a dollar a month. You'll get awesome rewards and keep the amwritingfantasy podcast going. Stay safe out there and see you next Monday.

81 episodes