Saturday, November 6, 2010

Good tool for self-editing

Write, re-write.  Read and re-write it again.  How often to writers hear that advice?  But here's one problem.  Since the writer knows what the entire novel's supposed to say, he/she can't always see some of the shortcomings.  One way to get around this is don't look at the book, listen to it.  There are a number of text-to-speech programs a writer can use. 

I've used a free downloadable version of Ultra Hal (from Zabaware).  Yes, it sounds like a B or C rated superhero, but it's actually been helpful in finding things that just didn't sound right when I'm not looking at the screen.  It's definitely a useful tool for self-editing.

Good luck and Write On.


  1. Interesting. I wonder if this works better than reading the manuscript aloud, which is what I do.

  2. I think it works better because even when you read aloud, you're eyes might dart ahead a little and you're thinking about what's next.

    When I use the text-to-speech, I don't even look at the screen. I either turn away and/or close my eyes to focus exactly on what's being said - not how I interpret the words. I've made a lot of changes this way.

  3. I normally do a read through, but hadn't really thought about the benefits of listening with a compturized voice. Good idea.

    By the way Hal was the sentient computer in 2001: A Space Oddessey. I'm guessing that's who (what?) Ultra Hal is named after.

  4. Never tried to connect to 2001. Being a sci-fi writer in progress, I can definitely appreciate that. :)

    Don't worry. I've used Ultra Hal and if I started changing my Word document while Ulta Hal's reading, it's never stopped to say, "What are you doing Rob?"