Tuesday 20 May 2014

Edit Your Books on the Kindle, says Maureen

Last week I discovered Miriam Halahmy’s post on An Awfully Big Blog Adventure about using her kindle as an editing tool.

Using the kindle in the way she describes is so useful. Being able to change the font size and view your manuscript in a different format highlights many problems. But there is another way to use the kindle as an editing tool and I wondered how many people were aware of it..

You can use the kindle's text to speech function as part of the editing process.

Like many authors I tape myself reading my book and listen as I edit. But there are problems with this. It takes time. I can’t re-record every time I change something. I often record what I think is there rather than what I’ve written. So mistakes slip through.

Then, as I was editing Cupcake Catastrophe! I remembered my kindle (original) has the option for text to speech. Ages ago I’d tried to listen to a book using text to speech but the reading was terrible. It isn’t a person reading, it’s a computerised voice. Let's call him Bob. So, the question was, would Bob be an advantage while editing or a disadvantage?

Turns out it’s a big advantage. Bob's reading is so bad that I have to listen very carefully as I follow the manuscript on my laptop or paper. His voice is disjointed. Fast when it should be slow, slow when it should be fast. His intonation is wrong and sometimes he blends one sentence with another as if punctuation is a blip on the screen. I think he's a bit of a Yoda fan.

e.g. This is what I wrote
‘No,’ yelled Florence. ‘I will not leave Cobbleton! I will wait for my father! He is alive. I know it and you know it!’ 

This is what Bob read.
'No,' yelled Florence. 'I will not.  Leave Cobbleton I will. Wait. For my father, he is. Alive, I know it. And you. Know it. 

If  Bob doesn’t recognise the word he says each phoneme. This is comical as I have the two Meanie girls attempting to whistle – ‘shpshfftzzz,’ went Armeenia became ‘sh p sh f f t z z z,’ went Armeenia.'

All of this means I really focus on what's been written. Every word is noticed.

The other advantage of using Bob is that I don't have to re-record the story as I finish each draft. I just email another version to my free kindle address and I can start the next part of the editorial process.

So, how do you find text to speech?
I only know how to do this on the original kindle. You will need headphones as you can't adjust the sound. Or maybe you can but I haven't discover how.

Open the document you want to edit.
Method 1: Press AA Choose text to speech.
Method 2: Press ­ ­Shift  (an arrow) and sym together.
Press back to stop. 

I know the option isn’t available on the Paperwhite but I don’t know about the other versions. If you do have a kindle that has TTS then please add which version and how to access it in the comments. 

Maureen Lynas 

Maureen's Website 
Cupcake Catastrophe!

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