Author Topic: do you all authors type manually or use speech to text software for manuscript?  (Read 541 times)  

Offline ANUSHA HS

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do you all authors type manually or use speech to text software for preparing the manuscript or could you all tell me about a speech to text tool through which i can type my entire manuscript easily?thanks in advance

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    Offline notjohn

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    I think Dragon Naturally is the gold standard. I don't know what's on my iPhone 4, but I am amazed at how good it is, compared to the miniature virtual keyboard that's on offer for texting. But I just can't imagine dictating as fast and flawlessly as I can type, especially when I'm using WordStar, the DOS program I adopted in 1983 (well, it was CPM at the time) and have booted forward to every OS up to and including Windows 10. I regularly have to break out of dictation and fix what the Autocorrect got wrong, which would really make a mess of my flow of text.

    But I suppose it's as good as whacking away at a manual typewriter, which is where I began this career. That worked out okay, though I sometimes gave up and went back to a ballpoint pen and a lined legal pad.
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    Offline Brevoort

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    ... or could you all tell me about a speech to text tool through which i can type my entire manuscript easily?

    I doubt that anyone would describe the process as easy. But fast? Yes.

    I do the bulk of my raw drafting (fiction & business) with a voice recorder and then have Dragon V15 (personal individual) transcribe the text. It does a very good job although the developers of Dragon have never bothered to really finish the software after all these years. Still, it is pretty well the best out there.

    However, I have been using the voice typing feature of Google Docs on my laptops and phones and I am well impressed. It does not feature any of the text correction tools of Dragon but it does an impressive job of voice recognition and is worth checking out. It does not respond to any text commands other than "Period" and "Next Paragraph" but that is pretty well all that I use in Dragon as well.

    The huge advantage that speech to text has is in speed. I can generally type 1K to 1.5K words in an hour. With dictation I can easily output 4K and up. There are others who achieve much greater rates. However, that is raw output. By the time you have fed the recordings into Dragon and let it do its stuff, and then tidy up the text, those initial output rates will drop.

    Occasionally, with all voice recognition tools, they run into words and phrases that confuse them badly. The resulting output can look like some bizarre drug land language and you can have a hell of a time recalling what you were really trying to say. That's where the ability to call up the original MP3 tape of the dictation becomes invaluable, but one can lose a great deal of time in some cases.

    There are several good books about all this. Two that I would recommend are "The Writer's Guide to Training Your Dragon" by Scott Baker (excellent), For how one approaches writing and dictation, and on creating the best mental attitude for it; "On Being a Dictator: Using Dictation to Be a Better Writer" by Kevin J. Anderson and Martin L. Shoemaker. (Anderson has written dozens of first rate science & fantasy novels using dictation for many years, usually by hiking mountains.)
    Rick Grant
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    Offline 30yearoldboomer

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    It's not really for me after trying it a few days. I bought the standard home edition and will most likely end up returning it. I'll probably experiment a bit more with it and see if something can be salvaged from it. They have a 30 day return policy from what I understand.

    The home edition (the $150 one) doesn't have the ability to add vocabulary from what I can tell, which is kind of deal breaker for a sci-fi/fantasy author. In fact, having a unique name of any kind sort of makes it hard to use. The premium version (which is $300) allows adding unique vocabulary, but to me, the software barely does a better job than MS Word.

    If you're an awkward speaker like me, then it's going to be hard. This whole stream of words that so many authors talk about with 99% accuracy just wasn't reality for me. I'd say words out of order, have to go back and fix it, or dragon would inevitably misunderstand me and make very basic homonym errors that would take me out of the flow and bother me. It seems I couldn't get two lines without it messing up in some way, and I ended up getting frustrated so that I never got into a flow state. It ended up being easier just clicking where I needed to be with the mouse and then speaking.

    The words never appear on the screen at the same time you say them, there is always a 1-3 second lag as it the program "thinks." Not being able to see instant feedback of the words I speak, on the screen in front of me, made writing super difficult, especially because I usually don't get a sentence the way I want it the first time.

    Maybe I just didn't give it much of a chance. I'll probably give if the old college try, after all, all my complaints might be because I'm not used to it.

    Online jm2019

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    I tried this twice and gave up. The quality of recognition and then the follow-up clean-up took way too much time and effort and took the joy out of it.

    Offline DCRWrites

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    I "wrote" one short story using Windows' built-in speech recognition in Word. It worked, but I didn't find it any faster or easier than typing. The words certainly didn't flow any better that way.

    I would probably consider using it again but I do a lot of my writing with others in the room and the TV on. It just doesn't make sense for that kind of situation. I know some people find it much faster, but at least at the moment it's not practical for me.

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    Offline LSBurton

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    I tried this twice and gave up. The quality of recognition and then the follow-up clean-up took way too much time and effort and took the joy out of it.

    I once edited a book that had used speech to text, and I marked it up so much I started to feel bad. It was just rather full of redundancy, and didn't flow well.

    Offline Ivan Brave

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    like some bizarre drug land language

    Is this necessarily a bad thing always? ;)
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    Offline ShaneCarrow

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    I would be the rare author who types, yet uses Dragon in my day job. The context is totally different (live speech-to-text for transmission in the job, no chance to edit) but I think that's precisely why I prefer typing when I'm doing my own thing. I like stopping and thinking. We're always editing on the fly as we write. I don't really want to write as fast as I can talk.

    Shane Carrow

    Offline f2b4

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    What Shane said.

    I don't understand people who use talk-to-text. This is a book, not a movie, or even an audio book at this point. I want to see the words appear in front of my eyes. Then I stop to read the sentence, and often back up and make changes immediately. I can't imagine dictating an entire book, chapter, or even a paragraph without editing as I go. Even when writing screenplays I want to see the words--every screenplay is read by dozens or hundreds of people before it goes into production.

    Speed doesn't really matter to me, especially since I type fast and use a real 30-year-old IBM keyboard both feels and sounds like typing.

    I get all nostalgic when I see an old movie with reporters clacking away on their manual typewriters in a huge room, editors using a pencil on paper, and then the clink clink of letters falling into place on the Linotype machines. Now apparently the so-called journalists just talk to their computer and the hilarious result magically appears in the internet.

    Offline scott.marmorstein

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    I have attempted on numerous occasions to use dictation instead of typing. There is a precision with typing that just cannot be achieved with one's voice. Software can't always understand my spoken words (someone else here mentioned that as well). With typing, I look at each sentence as I go, and if I'm bored reading it, I scrap it and start over. I also find a major disconnect in what I say out loud versus my inner voice.

    Online boxer44

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    I'm a writer, not a speecher HEHEHHE ...  Always type... Like NotJohn, learned on a manual, then a Brother Selectric, then IBM PC, now ASUS PC ... Can't even imaging video or dictating a book, but it's probably more about experience then like or dislike.   Typing and minor edits as I go works well for me ... then review and deep edit after first draft. 

    Offline Patty Jansen

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    I use my iphone's native dictation capability and dictate straight into Scrivener for iOS when I'm out for a walk in the morning. It works pretty well as long as I synch the file to my computer immediately when I come home and edit out the inevitable weird bits (and the "good morning"-s from when I meet people on the track).

    I use it for first drafts and it works really well for getting the story down. I worry about wording and fine details later. I find that dialogue flows better when dictated.

    Offline Norman Steele Taylor

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    Personally, I prefer DICTATION and MANUAL TRANSCRIPTION.

    Speech to text is slow, requires software 'training' and you don't really AVOID the problems you're trying to fix with dictating.

    For example, the whole point of dictating (at least for me) is to WRITE QUICKLY and DECIDE ON AN EDITORIAL DIRECTION and flow with it.

    When you have to SLOW DOWN to make sure your transcription software gets your speech, you loop around, get confused, and end up dictating sub-optimal stuff

    Here's the list of benefits you get with MANUAL transcription: https://dictablogger.com/how-to-manually-transcribe-dictated-blog-posts/

    Here's a quick run down on writing 20,000 a day through dictation https://dictablogger.com/how-i-write-20000-words-per-day/


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