I know it has been a long time, but I’m back with a bit of UN-editorial advice. Writers, please WRITE your story.
So here’s what I mean: We live in a BUSY world and we ALL look for ways to save time. One of those ways is to use voice-to-text to write books. While I feel voice-to-text is an invaluable writing tool, I do think it should be limited to recording ideas or excerpts when a writer has no time to jot down his/her thoughts at the moment. Of course, that’s MY opinion, but I sometimes wonder whatever happened to actually “writing” a story. Whatever happened to picking up an actual pencil, putting it to a real (not virtual) sheet of paper, and writing?
As I’ve mentioned before, on occasion I take on freelance editing for aspiring writers. More and more, I’m encountering the same types of manuscripts that aren’t really manuscripts; they are actually compilations of thoughts that seem to be gushing forth a mile a minute, and it’s very disheartening. Now, I’m not saying you should never use voice-to-text to write your story. DO! What I’m saying is that dictating a story that way is bound to come out like a jumble of thoughts and “scenes.” To make it a true manuscript submission, the writer (that means YOU) should go back and SELF-EDIT; arrange the scenes and thoughts into the story in your head, and get it into the best shape it can be.
A client from the past sent a manuscript for me to look over. It started out GREAT, but as I read on, I realized that she had not actually written the story; she had simply spoken into some sort of voice-to-text microphone and “recorded” her thoughts about the book. Instead of SHOWING (not telling) readers what was happening in the book, and instead of writing dialogue that helped move the story forward, this young writer simply TOLD everything. It was a lot like reading a multi-page compilation of stage directions for an aspiring actor.
I hope I don’t sound cruel; If I do, please know that I don’t mean to. I just want to share tips whenever I can to help ALL aspiring writers get their manuscripts in the best shape possible. So here’s my tip in a nutshell:
Write your story (or dictate it, or do whatever is comfortable for you), then print it out, READ IT, and edit it. Go through the manuscript and check for typos, grammatical problems, inconsistencies and lack of dialogue. Don’t just compile your thoughts and then send your manuscript off to an editor. Read through it to determine if it makes sense, or if it’s just a jumble of words and scenes.
Hey, you could have a run-away bestseller on your hands…you never know. Taking the time to go through your own work is good writing practice that is sure to help you hone your writing skills. You’ll be happier with your end product if you give it the same amount of love in the beginning stages that you’ll certainly give it if it becomes a runaway best seller at the end.
Hope this helps!