How I Write: Dragon Dictation

JV How I Write

Dragon Dictation is one of those handy writer tools that has saved my time (and my wrists) on more than one occasion.

I first seriously considered dictation when I read Chris Fox’s 5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter because he talked up dictation as a time-saving measure. I type pretty fast, though, so he didn’t sell me on the idea.

What sold me was carpal tunnel syndrome. My wrists ache, and they needed some relief. I started researching dictation for authors and decided to invest some money and give it a shot.

Here’s what I found:

A lot of what I read talked about a “long learning curve” for adjusting from writing to speaking. I don’t think this necessarily has to be the case. It might feel a little awkward at first, but this doesn’t have to last long.

Outlining my scenes in advance totally helps, and some of the tips other authors have shared, like visualizing scenes ahead of time, and making notes about details like setting and character appearances, are also very helpful.

Another benefit–Chris Fox was right. It’s sooooo much faster to speak than type. Especially when I’m not taking breaks to rest my wrists.

It’s a little strange speaking my punctuation. Here’s what it sounds like–

Maureen said comma open quote why did you do that question mark close quote new line

Open quote I don’t know comma close quote I said period. Open quote I guess it just felt right period close quote

So yeah, bizarre. But also kinda fun. 🙂

One pitfall is that although my accuracy with Dragon is pretty good (probably due to my California accent and the decent, not-too-cheap but not-too-pricey equipment I purchased), there are still errors, often surrounding names. And every now and then when I go back through a draft, I’ll find a couple of lines where I have absolutely no idea what I said because what Dragon typed for me is nonsensical. Also, for some reason, I can’t get Dragon to learn proper dialogue rules when it comes to quotation marks and exclamation points.

“What do you mean?” he said.

will always be

“What do you mean?” He said.

It’s annoying, but not the end of the world.

All in all, I still recommend Dragon Dictation to other writers. The freedom to step away from the screen and talk out my story is pretty great, and my wrists really appreciate the break from the keyboard.

Some resources:

Dragon Riders – Authors Dictating Facebook Group

Quick Cheats for Writing With Dragon by Scott Baker, ebook (FREE)

The Writer’s Guide to Training Your Dragon by Scott Baker, ebook (not free, but worth the money)

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