Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dictation Complete

I finished up dictating my outline this morning. It only took about an hour, but only about 3000 words. I began assembling the transcriptions this afternoon and I already know the word count will expand.

Apparently, I dictate a bit thin, which doesn't surprise me in the least. When I'm walking and talking I feel like I need to capture what's happening in the story without much decoration. The small bits of description I do are little short hand phrases to myself so I know how to expand upon them later. I want to do more of this.

Much like Mary Robinette Kowal uses brackets. Her blog post was a revelation, reminding me to get the story told and not agonize over the perfect turn of phrase in the midst of creative flow.

I'm very happy with how the dictated chapters turned out, though. Going through the text, fixing formatting issues and correcting basic grammatical stuff wasn't painful in the least. It was fun!

Earlier chapters in the book were also dictated using Dragon Naturally Speaking, which worked great. But I prefer using the transcription service because I can dictate in any environment, even with a bit of extraneous noise. It's more expensive, yes. But it's accurate and you don't have to speak the punctuation.

I'm moving the progress bar up to 93%! The progress will slow a little as I spend time passing through existing text. I'll declare draft #2 complete once it's ready to send to my editor.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Long Walk, Three More Chapters Written

Ah, dictation be a revelation. Progress bar moved to 73.8% today and that doesn't count today's chapters. This is fun! I expect to get the transcriptions for todays work back tomorrow or Monday which should move the bar another 3 or 4% more.

The thing is, I've only got six more chapters to go, so I'm starting to think the final word count for this draft is going to end up being closer to 85k than 100k. This is great news!

Here's the path where the magic happens.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Moved the Progress Bar to 70%

This is based on an estimated 100k words for draft #2. I got back transcriptions for a couple chapters today for 4400 new words. These are not polished chapters by any stretch, but they give me something I can work with. I read through a little of it, and aside from character names spelled wrong and some difficulty the transcriptionist had in determining what character was talking, it turned out very, very well. I'm also quite happy with the quality of the "writing" considering I was just making it up as I walked along.

I found I have a habit of switching to present tense while dictating. Oh well. That's easily fixed. It's certainly easier than using Dragon speech recognition since I don't have to dictate all the punctuation.

What I really, really love about this process is how fast it is. Because I couldn't see what I was saying, I couldn't go back and change it. Dictating forces me to keep going forward in the story. I went for an hour walk and came back with 4400 words! It would take me all day to type that because I'd be obsessively rewriting the whole time.

Even more good news: I did it again today. I went for a long walk (nearly two hours) and dictated two more chapters, one of which is a very difficult one that I was a little trepidatious about. But the first draft of that is behind me now. Well, actually its somewhere in the cloud waiting to be transcribed. I expect today's work to be another 5000 words.

Tomorrow I hope to knock out a couple more chapters. At this rate, I'll get the first draft of the last third done quickly, and then I'll be able to go through it and refine and complete.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Outline Complete

So I had to delete the last 3rd of the book. I now have the new last 3rd outlined and I dictated three chapters today, so not too shabby. I won't increment the word count bar until I get the transcriptions back, though. I expect they'll require significant editing and rewriting. But still, it feels good to be going forward again, rather than in the other direction.

Let me use this opportunity to say how much I adore OmniOutliner!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Backwards is Progress

Two days ago I deleted the last 1/3 of the book because all the revisions and rewriting I've done have changed how the story ends.

Here's the upshot. Even with that 1/3 nuked, the word count is exactly where it was at the completion of the first draft 65,000. This means that I've added enough material to make up for what I deleted. This also leads me to guess that as I rewrite the final third, I should end up close to 100,000 words for the 2nd draft. I'm actually hoping it's closer to 90,000 but that will depend on what the story needs.

If I'm to meet my goal to get this thing done by Dec. 24, 2011 that means I need to write 35,000 words in 47 days to get this draft complete by Sept. 30th. That means 744 words/day average plus some chapter revisions. Seems very doable since I was able to average 1666w/d last November when I had no idea where I was headed.

I should be writing right now instead of writing the blog post.