Saturday, August 2, 2008

Helpful Tools for Writers - Text to Voice

I'm out of town on a speaking engagement and booksignings, but I still wanted to share some new thoughts with you. I have tried various tools for brainstorming plots and deepening stories, but I’ve usually given up and found the programs more trouble than they’re worth. One of the least expensive programs I’ve found and one you can even download free for a trail is Natural Reader, a text to voice program.

This program will read your novel, chapters or scenes back to you so that you can catch typos and listen to the flow of your words. You can hear redundancies, wrong words (like meet instead of met), the overuse of a word, awkward sentences, words left out, and so much more. I use this program for my first edits. As I listen I use the highlighter to mark spots I want to rework and sometimes a simple change, such as a missing period or period for question mark, I can change then.

After all my edits are completed, I listen one more time to the chapters before sending it to my proofreader. Since I write for traditional publishers, these books are edited numerous times by my editor and the line and copy editors, but I prefer to send as clean a copy as I can, and a book that’s the best I can write.

They give you two voices—male and female—and three speeds of listening. The free download has limited amount of text the program will read at one time, and mine only had one voice which I didn’t like. I purchased the least expensive version for $49.95 and it’s been a lifesaver for me. If you’re interested, you can check it out at: http://www.naturalreaders.com/ I’ve found this software so helpful and if you don’t have a text to voice program, I think you’ll love it. It’s easy to use.

6 comments:

David Meigs said...

Another great writing tip, Gail. Thank you!

I picked up Natural Reader because of my vision problems, but it didn't take long to learn how valuable it was for editing my work. The software will even convert text to an MP3 or WAV file for listening on the go. I’ve owned several different products, but Natural Reader is by far the least buggy. I’d be lost with out it.

Kristina said...

Hi Gail,

What a great tool to have! I'm going to purchase the software.

Where would we be without your help? Thanks a million.

Kristina

jess said...

Thanks Gail and David too. I get so tired of reading my own ms--and this would certainly solve that problem. I'd also be able to spot any holes and loose threads by listening to "someone else" read my book aloud. I'm shopping for a new computer now and will definitely be adding Natural Reader to my "shopping bag."

Thanks for the tip. I've heard of Natural Reader but didn't act on it. This info comes at the perfect time.

Jim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric said...

Hey Gail,

Natural Reader has been helping me correct my grammar mistakes for about 2 years now! It truly is a lifesaver. Great post, see you later.

Eric
www.imagyne.net

Gail Gaymer Martin said...

Hi to all of you who've commented. I'm pleased I thought to mention Natural Reader and I'm pleased to hear some of you are already using it. I talk about this at conferences when I'm presenting workshops sinceI believe it is such a great tool. Thanks for dropping me a note.

Gail (who's presently in California. I leave for Michigan (my home) tomorrow,)