Author Topic: 1 Week Training My Dragon  (Read 107451 times)  

Offline Elizabeth Ann West

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1 Week Training My Dragon
« on: December 12, 2014, 09:11:52 AM »
Hi all!

I'm still on lunch break. I have 6 minutes to post this. That's okay, me and my headset I have aptly named Toothless can do this! In fact, just now when I dictated toothless, it made the name lowercase, and I was able to use my voice to go back,select that word and tell it to make it capitalized. It  did that and we're moving on.

To recap, it's been one week since I purchased Dragon NaturallySpeaking version 4 for Mac because primarily of my injuries from poor posture in my neck. I also use a Sony IC recorder to dictate my stories all over, often in my car, and have my computer transcribe them. When I first started, I managed 550 words dictated in about 20 minutes. Using my IC recorder to record two 11 minute files today I'm happy to report I'm up to 1190 words!! :-)

I've taken copious notes about my sessions to dictate and my sessions to edit those words. I am consistently over 1000 words for 20 minutes of dictation. However, that total increases significantly when I dictate for longer periods of time I think because I become more comfortable telling the story. In 40 minutes, I have consistently dictated 2500 words plus. But what about editing?

On average it takes me half  of the time it took to dictate the words to edit them into a polished state I consider draft material for my editor. My editor is my business partner and she reads over it, makes changes, and runs through autocrit. We do use a copy editor for our final drafts to look for typos.

So here's where I'm over the moon, jumping for joy, and screaming from the rooftops:  two hours of dictation this week equated to over 7000 words of raw material. It took me two more hours total, to edit all of that material.  And while that's an average of 1750 words per hour, that's higher than the words per hour I can type physically without even going into what I have to pay later in pain to do so. So even if you're not a victim of stress-related injuries, training your own Dragon might still be a good idea to shoot your productivity into the stratosphere.

Taking on a Dragon is not something you should do lightly.  I tried twice before when I had no motivation to really make it work and failed. But, since Toothless and I have become best friends forever more, I've heard from other authors who've given it a try and found it works similarly for them. Make sure you're willing to give it a week or two to adjust to writing a new way. Keep telling yourself the words you write in the words you say all come from the same place: your brain. It takes a little bit of practice, but I think within a week you'll find yourself flying high as a kite with your own  Dragon!

**My lunch period is over :(  I have to go dictate more/edit more. I promise I won't keep giving Dragon updates. In reality, I won't need to, you'll just see my author page filled with books I talked out loud. :-) But I thought one week of working with my Dragon was a good status report to share.


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Offline NoBlackHats

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Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2014, 09:13:18 AM »
Very interesting!  Thanks for the review.

Offline Christian Martin

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Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2014, 09:17:15 AM »
Wow....very interesting. Thank you for sharing.

Offline Zelah Meyer

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Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2014, 09:21:08 AM »
Congrats on finding a method that works well for you.  :)

I am intrigued by voice to text - but I currently can't imagine dictating a story.  I could improvise one with just dialogue, and that would flow reasonably well - but to dictate it?  That seems like such a big and scary step.  So very different to the way I currently work that it seems impossible that I would be able to adjust.

How did you feel before you tried it?  Were you similarly uncertain, or did you think it was something that would work for you even back then?

Offline Elizabeth Ann West

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Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2014, 09:45:39 AM »
I have to go pick up my daughter, I forgot today is a half day. GRRR.

I felt like an idiot the first time I tried it years and years ago (like version 6 back in the mid 2000s). In 2012, I started off just dictating IDEAS. Since I always get plot bunnies and ideas for a project when I'm driving, it was frustrating to never be able to write them down. Now I just turn on my SONY recorder and stick it in the cup holder and off we go and I talk to myself.

This time around, I expected to be SLOWER talking my story out. Ha! Yeah, we speak waaaaay faster than we type. Way faster. Those 11 minutes files for example? Probably 25% is silence. You can talk with huge gaps in between thoughts and the Dragon just ignores it. So when you're recording you FEEL super slow. When it transcribes, you're like "Holy hell, how did I say that many words??" I did research and realized most people speak about 100 word per minute, auctioneers 300 words per minute. The FASTEST I've ever written typing was 1250 words in an hour, creating words. I type fast, but typing words I have to come up with, 20 words per minute is what I can manage. Dictation I'm transcribing 54 words per minute, coming down to about 30-40 wpm if you include editing time.

ok gotta jet!

P.s this was typed. I think I make more mistakes when I type lol


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Offline carinasanfey

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Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2014, 09:53:30 AM »
Yay, congratulations! It sounds like you and your dragon are a match made in heaven.

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Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2014, 10:09:09 AM »
I like the sound of it, but I'm not sure I could get on with it myself as I tend to write and rewrite and rewrite each sentence. Wouldn't that get a bit annoying?

Offline Elizabeth Ann West

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Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2014, 10:14:53 AM »
LAST post, just got back, then I have to go work. :)

To Lydniz, no it doesn't get annoying. When I talk into my Sony recorder I just talk. I can't SEE the words, so there's no desire to rewrite. By the time I transcribe it, it's been a little bit of time and I'm editing it anyway, that's when I rewrite a sentence or two. I think speaking has improved my writing because it's more storytelling. I tell more details speaking than writing because I think writing I see it in my head and assume it's all getting there on the page.

Truly, if you don't want a dragon, don't get one. Once you HAVE a dragon and train it, you won't go back. :)


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Offline John Ellsworth

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Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2014, 10:15:24 AM »
Hi all!

I'm still on lunch break. I have 6 minutes to post this. That's okay, me and my headset I have aptly named Toothless can do this! In fact, just now when I dictated toothless, it made the name lowercase, and I was able to use my voice to go back,select that word and tell it to make it capitalized. It  did that and we're moving on.

To recap, it's been one week since I purchased Dragon NaturallySpeaking version 4 for Mac because primarily of my injuries from poor posture in my neck. I also use a Sony IC recorder to dictate my stories all over, often in my car, and have my computer transcribe them. When I first started, I managed 550 words dictated in about 20 minutes. Using my IC recorder to record two 11 minute files today I'm happy to report I'm up to 1190 words!! :-)

I've taken copious notes about my sessions to dictate and my sessions to edit those words. I am consistently over 1000 words for 20 minutes of dictation. However, that total increases significantly when I dictate for longer periods of time I think because I become more comfortable telling the story. In 40 minutes, I have consistently dictated 2500 words plus. But what about editing?

On average it takes me half  of the time it took to dictate the words to edit them into a polished state I consider draft material for my editor. My editor is my business partner and she reads over it, makes changes, and runs through autocrit. We do use a copy editor for our final drafts to look for typos.

So here's where I'm over the moon, jumping for joy, and screaming from the rooftops:  two hours of dictation this week equated to over 7000 words of raw material. It took me two more hours total, to edit all of that material.  And while that's an average of 1750 words per hour, that's higher than the words per hour I can type physically without even going into what I have to pay later in pain to do so. So even if you're not a victim of stress-related injuries, training your own Dragon might still be a good idea to shoot your productivity into the stratosphere.

Taking on a Dragon is not something you should do lightly.  I tried twice before when I had no motivation to really make it work and failed. But, since Toothless and I have become best friends forever more, I've heard from other authors who've given it a try and found it works similarly for them. Make sure you're willing to give it a week or two to adjust to writing a new way. Keep telling yourself the words you write in the words you say all come from the same place: your brain. It takes a little bit of practice, but I think within a week you'll find yourself flying high as a kite with your own  Dragon!

**My lunch period is over :(  I have to go dictate more/edit more. I promise I won't keep giving Dragon updates. In reality, I won't need to, you'll just see my author page filled with books I talked out loud. :-) But I thought one week of working with my Dragon was a good status report to share.

Do you use a mike or headset independent of the mac? Or is the mac's built-in mike sufficient?

Thanks.

Offline Elizabeth Ann West

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Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2014, 10:20:41 AM »
I have the headset that came with Dragon 12 for PC. it works on my MAC. The mac built in mike works fine too as long as your room is quiet. I prefer the SONY recorder to anything (so I can get comfy), the headset over the built in mike because I can listen to music while I dictate (the headphones are independent of the microphone piece, even though they are connected).


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Offline TBD

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Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2014, 10:21:25 AM »
With the latest Dragon for PC -- DNS 13 -- my laptop mic works fine. That wasn't the case with DNS 12 on either my laptop or desktop.

I am the world's worst typist. What I discovered when I *finally* made the switch to Dragon was that I had been self-editing to avoid typing to much?!?!? A TOTAL surprise.

When I started dictating, I added much more color and dialogue... all in all, it was a dramatic improvement.

Offline X. Aratare

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Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2014, 10:28:18 AM »
Names though (unusual ones) do NOT work on Dragon.  I train them religiously and nope!  Doesn't work. It is so frustrating.  I keep hoping that it'll get better but it doesn't.  But I can write so much faster by talking than typing.

Offline Elizabeth Ann West

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Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2014, 10:30:44 AM »
X. Aratare, did you have it analyze your manuscripts? I told mine to run through my manuscripts and it's got all of my character names well aside from Lady Catherine de Bourgh (it always wants to make her de Burke). You can also do vocabulary training.


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Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2014, 10:33:48 AM »
Thanks so much for sharing. I already dictate my ideas on my phone. I feel like I would clam up and get a brain freeze if I tried to dictate my books, but maybe it just takes getting used to. I'm going to try it. I've had surgery for carpal tunnel in the past and am very careful with not overworking my hands.

Offline X. Aratare

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Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2014, 11:20:19 AM »
X. Aratare, did you have it analyze your manuscripts? I told mine to run through my manuscripts and it's got all of my character names well aside from Lady Catherine de Bourgh (it always wants to make her de Burke). You can also do vocabulary training.


I've only ever done the vocabulary training.  Maybe having to analyze my manuscripts would make it better.  Thanks for the tip!

Offline Adam Poe

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Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2014, 11:34:57 AM »
I got Dragon over a year ago and only used it twice ... for maybe 15 minutes both times. I should probably take it out and work on it some more. Maybe I could write some scenes while out walking. Can you train it to ignore heavy breathing I wonder? :P

Offline David Peterson

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Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2014, 12:15:52 PM »
I went ahead and bought it a couple days ago. Figured it was worth trying out. It came in the mail last night.

I'm impressed how accurate it is for me, but talking the story is going to take some getting used to.

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Offline Elizabeth Ann West

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Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2014, 12:19:47 PM »
It ignores all breathing, silence, UMMMS , hmmmm, beeping noises like when you're backing up in a car and your parking sensors are beeping. It does not ignore human voice. And when you want to PUT thought noises into your dialogue like

"Hmmm, would you say Anne is on death's door?" Darcy asked, raising an eyebrow

On my Sony recorder, I have to say

OPEN QUOTE SPELLING MODE H M M M M COMMA DICTATION MODE would you say Anne is on death's door QUESTION MARK



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Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2014, 01:08:14 PM »
AH!!! I love Toothless <3<3<3

I tried Dragon Dictate about two years ago, but it felt really awkward. I was using it for screenwriting so the formatting was an issue. I had to say tab or enter all. the. time. I would like to get a cordless mic and try again next year. I can't imagine I'd be able to dictate my steamier stuff (can you imagine dictating a sex scene--how awkward!), but I'd love to be able to even do an hour or two less typing a day.

Offline Kenzi

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Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« Reply #19 on: December 12, 2014, 01:41:12 PM »
Names though (unusual ones) do NOT work on Dragon.  I train them religiously and nope!  Doesn't work. It is so frustrating.  I keep hoping that it'll get better but it doesn't.  But I can write so much faster by talking than typing.

Do you have the latest version, Aratare? I've found the newest one is dramatically better at things like that than version...12? for PC.

Offline Mark Tyson

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Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« Reply #20 on: December 12, 2014, 01:49:00 PM »
Okay, you inspired me. I will have to dust off my dragon (I've had it for about a year sitting on a shelf) and get to training it. I think I might have to re-install it on my computer too.

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Offline LKRigel

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Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« Reply #21 on: December 12, 2014, 02:20:04 PM »
Does anyone know if Dragon 13 for PC works with Word 2007? (Yes, I need to upgrade my Office, but... but... )

Offline Lloyd MacRae

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Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« Reply #22 on: December 12, 2014, 02:35:26 PM »
I have Dragon version 12 on one of my PCs and it works with 2007.

I've been using Dragon since it first came out in 1997 because of physical difficulties and I can't live without it now ;D
« Last Edit: December 12, 2014, 02:38:52 PM by Lloyd MacRae »


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Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« Reply #23 on: December 12, 2014, 02:39:22 PM »
AH!!! I love Toothless <3<3<3

I tried Dragon Dictate about two years ago, but it felt really awkward. I was using it for screenwriting so the formatting was an issue. I had to say tab or enter all. the. time. I would like to get a cordless mic and try again next year. I can't imagine I'd be able to dictate my steamier stuff (can you imagine dictating a sex scene--how awkward!), but I'd love to be able to even do an hour or two less typing a day.
My kids walked in on me dictating a steamy scene while walking on the treadmill.  Hard to explain lol.

Offline Jane Killick

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Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« Reply #24 on: December 12, 2014, 02:42:24 PM »
Very, very tempted!

Can I ask, what Sony recorder do you use?

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