Thursday, February 22, 2007

Speak Into the Microphone

How does one live without a calendar? There's absolutely nothing more sobering than watching the days fly by. This evening I've carefully examined the remaining days of February and the only way I can possibly make my self-imposed March 1st deadline is to write 20 pages a day. Now let's see . . . what did I tell that editor?

Whoa! Checking my query letter, I see that I told her early March. A reprieve? Not much of one. Let's look at a few things. I received the go-ahead to send the complete manuscript right around Christmas. If I had written just four pages a day during January and February, my book would be finished. I should hang my head in shame. Just how badly do I want to sell another book? Why am I dragging my feet on this when I know the story so well? It's outlined, so when I force myself to sit down to write, it flows -- well, maybe flow isn't the best word to use. Right about now, I could use a few tips from Erle Stanley Gardner on dictation. I believe I remember reading that he dictated all his Perry Mason books to a secretary. I wish I could hear how he did it.

I have a book called Writing Out Loud by Jefferson D. Bates. I bought it at Half-Price books in Houston. (As far as I'm concerned, the best thing about Houston.) The blurb on the back cover states:
"In this age of instantaneous information, when getting ahead means getting there first and fast, it is imperative that anyone whose work involves writing use every moment of their time effectively." That's what sold me on this little book, copyright 1990. I know there are computer programs one can purchase that are the equivalent of dictation, but my Texas-Louisiana accent confuses the little bugger. If I say, "Matthew slipped on a furry rug two weeks ago" I see "Matthew slept on a fiery rub two leeks a hoe". Don't know that I could handle that kind of fine-tuning.

In his book, Bates says, "Good organization is the wellspring of good dictation. Know what you want to accomplish." In my mind, dictating a novel into a tape recorder sounds easy. (We have to remember here the key phrase is in my mind--that's where everything sounds easy.)The hard part would be the transcription. After writing for newspapers and magazines, and relying heavily on my little Sony, I know that transcribing is a time-consuming, boring thing to do.

My husband says I'm always looking for shortcuts. He's right. I'm always looking for something--a magazine article I want to read again, a book with a favorite quote in it, a receipt so I can return something to a store, a safety pin--my goodness, why not a shortcut? :)

1 comment:

Christa said...

You can do it---If you pretend you have an 8-4 job, take an hour for lunch, three pages an hour - 21!