Some time ago a fellow writer told me that he used a voice dictation device (app or purchased product, I don’t know) to get his stories down on paper. I kind of Googled that this morning, and there are indeed all kinds of apps that allow you to dictate your story while you’re doing laundry, picking up dog doodoo or driving.
Do any of you use that sort of device?
I always have a lot of ideas bouncing around in my head. I’ll see something or hear something and think “that might make a good story/poem.” So I fumble around for a notebook and pen and try and jot the input down. Well, you can’t really pull over to the side of the road every five minutes when you’re driving 50 miles per hour to jot down story ideas. Nor can you sneak into the bathroom the same amount of time and write something down while at work.
So I thought…gee…this could be the device for me!
Then I thought about it.
Here’s me, driving down the backroads on my way to work, talking away on my phone/computer/bluetooth device, blabbering away scenes from chapter fifteen. And just when the killer reveals himself, there’d be a 90 degree turn in the road, and I’d miss the turn and blabber straight off the road into the cornfield.
Or what if I’m dictating a poem and I don’t notice the car in front of me has stopped? I have a hard enough time paying attention to the car in front of me the way it is.
So okay. Instead of typing on my computer (which doesn’t work because the cord is 4 hours away…you already knew that..), I dictate chapter three on my phone or Ipad from the livingroom. Again, I know me. It would go something like this:
“At this Vera stood, her well-worn dress falling down to cover Get down from there! the tops of her feet once again. She fumbled with the few buttons at her neck, her eyes and cheeks puffy I told you to get off the table! Stupid cat with sleeplessness, her scar swollen Oh shit I knocked the glass over slightly from her seated vigil all night.”
I think I’m pretty darn good at grammar and sentence structure, as I am a writer and proofreader at work. But the truth is I don’t speak as I write. I’m much more eloquent on paper than I am speaking aloud. So instead of saying, “Clouds and rain and mud and bushes all swirled together in some hideous form of vertigo. Grasping the steering wheel, all Anna could do was hold on. Her brain was being jarred, her body bouncing around as branches cracked and split under the forward motion of her car….” I would find myself saying “She crashed her car in the bushes.”
As much as I love technology, it’s not always my friend. Of course, dictating might get rid of all the “as if”s and “it seemed” and runaway semi-colons. It would save me rereading the story fifteen hundred times to catch all the repetitions. Or all the “he said” “she said”s.
I guess I’m always going to be a computer writer or a pen and paper writer, putting the words down one by one. I’m not the world’s best when it comes to multi-tasking.
And anyway, when writing, it’s like a different person enters my body and speaks for me.
And that person doesn’t drive…