Tag Archives: talk to your editor

Says the Editor: Speech to Text


Do your hands hurt? Are your wrists too sore to type? Thinking of switching over to a speech to text program?

I have a number of clients who use it now. Personally, I imagine them standing behind a desk, narrating away, pacing as they do and occasionally stopping to frown at the screen. “That wasn’t what I said!” I can hear them thinking. Or saying… as it prints on the screen.

Yes, you can tell I haven’t yet played with speech to text as a writing method. I’m curious about it, though. I’ll admit that.

That’s not what this post is about. Nope. It’s about the need for those of you who do use these programs — and most of you seem to use Dragon, so I’ll just come out and name them, but feel free to leave a comment if you use another one — to make sure you go over your manuscripts carefully. Like all computer programs, it’s not perfect. It’s not great with nuance.

And if I don’t know you’re using it, I’m going to assume — as I did last week — that you’re simply being sloppy and not respectful of either yourself or me. This is never a good thing, for obvious reasons.

I know… you may not always have the time or energy to sit and make sure past didn’t come out as passed. Or that the names in your fantasy novel were interpreted wrong. Or that “excuse me while I kiss the sky” didn’t come out as “Excuse me while I kiss this guy.”

But believe me, while I’m willing to go an extra mile when I know you’re using Dragon (or whatever program you prefer), even I have limits. I don’t want to be paid to correct a machine’s inadequacies. I want to help you be a better writer, and there’s a big difference in those two actions.

That said, there was one day where a character’s name was misinterpreted so badly that the text made ZERO sense and I stood at my desk and scratched my head and read the bizarre phrase out loud until I got it. And yes, there are times when I fix a Dragon mistake and laugh at how absurd the interpretation was. Those are my favorite times, to be honest.

But I need to know going in that you’re using it. So, you know, I don’t think you’re being sloppy and disrespectful. Because then I get cranky and let me tell you, my kids hate it when I’m cranky. So do I, although now it’s summer and I can jump on my bike and take a ride to chill out, albeit a shorter ride than I’d like.

So. If you’re going to switch over to speech to text, let me sum it up again:
1. Look over your manuscript before you send it to your editor.
2. Tell your editor you’re using it so I can blame the program and not you.
3. Be prepared to laugh at some of the stuff I’m about to uncover and reveal. Because let’s face it: some of it is darn funny.

Got it?

Talk to me, not just to your speech to text program. And keep on getting those words on the page, no matter how you have to do it. I keep saying it: I have the best clients ever. You guys keep proving that to be true.


#SaystheEditor Summer’s more than one month long!


One in an occasional series


I have to laugh. A few weeks ago, I posted about how it’s time to line up your editor for the summer. I can’t speak for other editors, but around here, summer’s my busy season. You’ve got to get in soon, especially if you’re a new client.

I guess you guys were listening because … well, August is now completely booked. Funny enough, it happened within a 24-hour period, too.

However, summer’s more than one month long, and June and July… crickets are chirping. Lots of open weeks… June and July have as many weeks as any other month, and right now, any of those weeks are yours for the taking.

Look over where you are in your manuscript. Even if you’re not a West of Mars client (and why aren’t you again?), you may want to have a chat with your editor about his or her expected availability when you need him or her. Even if, like me, the answer will be, “I’ll make time for you. No worries,” it’s still polite to let your editor know what you’re thinking, so they know to expect you.

I can’t speak for others, but whenever someone says, “I’m aiming for June and I’ll be in touch when I know for certain,” I jot a note on my June calendar. Client X? it says, and I’ll include word count if you’ve given me an estimate. That reminds me to hold space open; one thing I’ve learned is that open spaces always fill (unless, for some reason, it’s March. Why is March my slowest month?).

Talk to your editor about your projected schedule. And get yourself on the June or July calendar soon. August is full… what month will be next?