Hello all! Welcome to Tech Luv Thursday! This is a feature where, twice a month, I highlight technology that I love and you can ask questions. One of the complaints that I hear about most from other writers is how painful editing is. Now, before you get excited, please understand that I am not able to take away that pain entirely. Sorry about that. However, I do want to share one of my tricks for digging into editing and it involves something called T-T-S, or Text-To-Speech.
One piece of advice I’m always given is to read my work out loud. Has anyone ever shared that with you? Sounds great in theory, but if you’re like me, you may find the sheer effort beyond challenging. I fall asleep reading anything out loud. Anything. From my eight-year-old’s Star Wars books to a gripping novel. I am, however, a great listener. That’s where T-T-S comes in.
Text To Speech (T-T-S)
Basically, for those of you who aren’t familiar with T-T-S, it does exactly what its name implies. It converts text into spoken output. I’d been familiar with the tech for years–usually it involved a robotic voice reciting text in a monotone voice. Enter my Kindle Fire. When I enabled T-T-S on my Kindle, I had no idea that it would come with a lovely UK-English voice called Brian (he’s not $45 on Kindle, btw).
I fell in love with Brian. For the first time, my text sounded like it was being read by a real person. His voice has inflection, it’s engaging. It drew me in. Be sure to check out Amazon’s help page for details on how to enable t-t-s on your Kindle.
A New Approach
I sent a copy of my manuscript to my Kindle, hoping it would work. I opened the file, highlighted the first word and pressed play. Yes! Brain was reading my file back to me. It worked!
Here are some adjustments that I made to help with editing process.
- I wore headphones.
- Let Brian read to me.
- Read along with Brian at the same time, using the notes feature to highlight/notate any changes.
Simple, huh? And I found a ton of things that needed changed! Listening and reading at the same time really worked for me. I repeated the process until I felt the manuscript was as polished as I could get it. Only then did it go off to my editor.
The downside is that I had to line up my Kindle alongside my laptop to add in the changes, deleting the notes on Kindle as I went. That’s a small price to pay for a great edit, however.
What I’m Using Now
Earlier this year, I sold my Kindle and moved to an iPad. I know–I’m an android fanatic, so why the change? Well, the possibility of a Scrivener app, combined with a great deal swayed me. Yet, how would I edit with the iPad?
I started editing on the Word app (which of course charges a monthly fee), but I found I was not listening to the text, checking it for plot and pacing, the way I used to on my Kindle. It took longer and I wasn’t as satisfied with the edits.
The search was on, and that’s where a great app called Voice Dream Reader slid under my radar. Not only could I load any file into the app and have it read to me, but I could export all of my notes and files from a personal document–something Amazon is still fooling around with. Plus, there was the best feature of all: Brian was downloadable! Brian, an Ivona voice, was downloadable and I could use him on Voice Dream Reader. That sold me.
Admittedly, the whole setup on iPad cost me a one-time expense of around $15. I found that, for me, this was worth it. Now I can edit my document, export my notes, and easily make the changes in my original file later on.
This is only one approach, and I’m sure it won’t work for everyone. For me? I love hearing and reading my work simultaneously. Best of all, this strategy can be applied to any type of writing.
Thanks for joining me! Please be sure to post any questions or your own techniques below!