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Dictation (seeking advice on freewriting and dictating stories) (1 Viewer)

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Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
What is your approach for dictating a story? I researched this topic. I think I'll need a voice activated recorder in my case because I stop the recorder often by pressing the stop button(freewriting is extremly difficult while dictating and uses a different part of thre brain it seems). According to LD online a voice activated recorder is useful for those that have a writing disability that affects communication. That a voice activated recorder is advisable for disabled writers when they still struggle. Unfortunately, I won't be able to get a teacher yet to help me. But Ldonline is the best place to read tips on disabilities. I can't register on the forum there since I get an error with recaptcha. If someone can register me an account there I'd be grateful (I can't verify that I am not a bot or a human).

Here's what I have done so far. I copy and paste an interesting picture and try to create a list of words of nouns of what I see in the picture. Then I create sentences using these nouns. I am writing for the time being using a first person point of view. It's easier for me and I got this advice from someone who always helps me (when critiquing stories and by a private message).

So a lot of prewriting is involved more than I thought. What other people do is use the voice activated recorder outside the house. When they are walking around the neighborhood. This gives them ideas for plots, and even imagery.

Then I write sentences. My process is different. I have tried more often now to connect the sentences with the previous sentence. But that's if I set the work aside. I have set it aside for one day. I'll keep setting it aside for the time being.

But this can be demanding. I took 3 hours to write 900 words. Then I had to reread it. I haven't been able to freewrite with dictation. Descriptive prose can be demanding but then after I have that written I can write a lot more. The difficult part is over.

Dictating can make this less of a chore, I imagine. However I think you need to prewrite before you dictate.

What's necessary which I have yet to order but will: the voice activated recorder, and text to speech software. What I'll need besides that I suspect is a digital writing pad or a similar device. (my handwriting is messy)

I have a microphone, and it works well with google voice keyboard (on google docs).

I haven't tried dictating by freewriting because it seems dictation one moment to the next is notoriously difficult. Which is why I created this thread. How do you freewrite with dictation? My handwriting is messy. I think I need one of those digital writing pads because my writing becomes neat and not messy.

The advice I read said you need to make it a habit to use voice activated software or a recorder. Voice activated software is not easy to find. I have yet to find one. The advice of using a recorder came from a new york times best selling writer who wrote a book on dictation. There are some lists on the web on voice activated recorders but not software.

Even after all this I know I have to read my work outloud. (let the work sit for a couple of days returning to it if necessary the next day to let the subconcious do its work)

My question is for people who dictate their stories. What is your own approach to dictating a story? What has yielded results? How about freewriting?

I have not yet dictated since I need to outline or maybe do more prewriting. That is what I need to do I think before I attempt dictation.

A special note: picture books with essays should help with the process of dictating faster and should help me forget about focusing on setting and to write to the plot in the story. Travel guides could also be important. I'll give an example: The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City. (google on amazon) Photography is a nonfiction niche.

I guess what I am asking is your experience with dictation and writing a story. I think Dlunni who is a mentor does this. If free writing prompts also are helpful, I would be interested in purchasing one. (these are my tips)

Thanks in advance for those who have helped me with my writing.
 
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SueC

Staff member
Senior Mentor
I guess what I am asking is your experience with dictation and writing a story. I think Dlunni who is a mentor does this. If free writing prompts also are helpful, I would be interested in purchasing one. (these are my tips)

Thanks in advance for those who have helped me with my writing.

The only issue I see - and this is something that has come up before on the forum - is that we don't write the way we speak. If you listen to anyone's conversation, it is riddled with all sorts of pauses, repeats, ums, aws, etc. Sometimes, when a writer is struggling with creating compelling dialogue, it may appear stiff or stilted and sound unnatural. At this point, I will often suggest they read their stories out loud, so they can hear the unnatural sound of their characters speaking to one another. We use shortcuts a lot when we speak. The prose part of a story, dictated, can be just as bad because you still speaking into the machine to transcribe what you have said. To correct this, you may go so far in the other direction that your book sounds as if the narrator is speaking with a prompt in front of him.

I so admire anyone who can pull this off well. I have typed tons of dictated material from attorneys in my time as an admin, and some were extremely skilled and organized - others not so much. But they weren't trying to tell me a story.

I hope you get good advice for this project, theglasshouse. I think we can all use a different skill set! :)
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
The only issue I see - and this is something that has come up before on the forum - is that we don't write the way we speak. If you listen to anyone's conversation, it is riddled with all sorts of pauses, repeats, ums, aws, etc. Sometimes, when a writer is struggling with creating compelling dialogue, it may appear stiff or stilted and sound unnatural. At this point, I will often suggest they read their stories out loud, so they can hear the unnatural sound of their characters speaking to one another. We use shortcuts a lot when we speak. The prose part of a story, dictated, can be just as bad because you still speaking into the machine to transcribe what you have said. To correct this, you may go so far in the other direction that your book sounds as if the narrator is speaking with a prompt in front of him.

I so admire anyone who can pull this off well. I have typed tons of dictated material from attorneys in my time as an admin, and some were extremely skilled and organized - others not so much. But they weren't trying to tell me a story.

I hope you get good advice for this project, theglasshouse. I think we can all use a different skill set! :)
I value your opinion. You are always kind when writing your posts. It's always encouraging. I think it's just me, because I feel I have a disbaility I might not share the same point of view on speech not having any benefits. Dictation is sometimes used by children to write small stories. Their grammar is more correct than they can express themselves on paper. I am in a similar situation.

I think I won't know until I try it. I tried reading outloud and rewriting after prewriting some days ago. It was tedious, but it felt like my syntax flowed better by writing outloud (not dictating my work). By dictating and rewording the sentences I hope I avoid the mistakes that are in many of my first few drafts, which is awkwardly phrased sentences and missing words. I think if I prewrite I can dictate. That's the logic. But that requires research. Freewriting means I need to do it first probably by hand. In real time dictation eveything must be said quickly.

People with dysgraphia have problems with syntax according to my research on the condition. They need to constantly rearrange the syntax in their sentences (my speech has less mistakes than typing). I felt for a long time this is what I have as a condition. My syntax is missing words, or is in the wrong order. I have to reread outloud and make sure that the syntax needs to be rearranged. It is as if my brain purposely writes a sentence with syntax that seems to be incorrect. With speech I dont make syntax errors but need to rephrase.

I think my speech is superior to my writing in terms of grammar. LDonline says people with dysgraphia use tape recorders, so they know they have to rephrase the sentence using the tape recorder as a guide (voice activation eliminates the silence when no one is talking). They are one of the best websites imo for people with learning disabilities who want to learn more. There are many articles on that web page and it's for the whole disabled spectrum.

Of course this only applies to my narration of story events, because that's when I mess up. Because I guess I am hard wired differently in this area of the brain compared to other people. My expository writing has a few mistakes sometimes but if I compare it to writing a story, the later is far worse. I can write essays but when I write stories I make very basic mistakes in the phrasing syntax.

I also own a book called foolproof dictation by christopher downing. Of course I need to edit after dictation is done. But prewriting and dictation sounds like a lot of work. Which is why I am trying to learn strategies for dictation. If ldonline is wrong I doubt it since it is researched by speech therapists in many cases. They review books for speech therapists.

A tape recorder that is voice activated that is decent can cost 26 dollars. Which isn't a bad deal.

Thank you for your opinion which is sincere and for wishing me good luck in getting help.
 
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