Talking on the Go

Virtually every industry, including cat litter (boxes) is all in on efficiency these days. Every second you can save, we’re told, is a second you get to give your life meaning. Or watch YouTube videos.

Writing isn’t any different, even if the meshing of “efficiency” and “writing” leaves me with a bit of an iron taste in my mouth. Still, the point of what I’m doing, what pretty much any author is doing, is to tell stories. And if there’s an easier way to tell those stories, or get a shell down so those stories can be refined, well, who am I to say no?

Especially when I get to look like a madman doing it.

Your phone. You probably have it near you. Possibly you’re reading this blog post on it. Rumor has it that a phone is a pretty useful device. Some might say essential. Have you ever used it to record yourself?

Not video, no. This is about writing stories and I’m not quite egotistical enough to think people want videos of me stumbling through paragraphs as I make them up.

But sound! That’s the key. Actually dictating into the phone and then, using Dragon, to transcribe the recording into Scrivener. Now that it’s not a frigid Wisconsin winter, I can go take walks. Or pace around the living room, whatever. Point is, the phone and transcription allows me to be mobile.

And when I’m wandering, the mind wanders with me. Maybe it’s about not having a blank page, or tapping into our ancestral roots where we wandered the plains in a hunter/gatherer society. Whatever the reason, whenever I have a block, getting up and moving usually lets me lose it.

Used to be that those jaunts were lost time. I could think about the story, maybe jot it down, but any specific sentences? A scene melding into perfect form in that moment? Nada.

Of course there’s a downside. Beyond my neighbors questioning my sanity as I yammer and wander the sidewalks (that’s what they get for living near a writer). That’s quality. Not just that the mic in my phone isn’t as good as the Blue Yeti I use on my desk. It’s simply more difficult to keep track of where I’m at. My words repeat. If I have to cross a street, it’s easy to lose where I’m at in a paragraph.

In short, what I get out needs a lot more work than normal dictation.

But doing this gives me the bones of a scene, the silhouette of story when I wouldn’t have had any otherwise.

You could boil this down to always being open to new ideas, and being willing to try new things, and so on and so forth. I’m liking it so far, and if you’re looking for a way to get more words down of your own, you could do worse than giving this a try.

In case you’re curious, I’ll paste a raw, un-edited transcription of a recording below – names and whatnot are all kinds of messed up, but the core idea is there. No serious spoilers here, but I wanted to give you an honest look at what comes out from what I speak into the phone:

Shale said the words and frowned. Then turned to one of the larger huts, one that was more than three times the size of Norris. He pointed out it. “Please, follow me over there. We can talk more about the plan.”

“The plan?” Cena said.

“Of course, our grand idea to attack and bring down the right-hand,” Chan said. “It must begin soon. Before they know were coming.”

As we walked through the village the spirits of the left-hand looked over at us and nodded. Some even offered waves. All of them, all of them looked conscious and cognizant. None had the vacant stairs of spirits caught by the cycle. None had the pale fire eyes of one lost to ribbons insatiable hunger. No, whatever the spirits were, they’d found a way outside of what made riven a brutal universe. Cena and I had each other’s eyes and nodded. Molly, Molly must be doing something. Must be creating her own little corner of this dead world.

Inside the HUD was little more than the basics. And by that I mean a pit for a fire, this one unlit. In some sparse bundles of plants and grass forming little circles around the inside. As though someone had put the house together and forgotten how to fill it. Jail sat down on the hard ground and made for us to do the same. I looked for beds, for any sign the usual life comforts. The sort of things that any permanent village would have to have. But I saw none.

“Tell me,” I asked you before he could launch and do his plan. “How long has this village been here?”

Anyway, hope you found this one interesting. I’ll have an update on Riven’s sequel in the next couple of days – including a wildly different cover because I have too much fun with these things.


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