Writer’s Craft #27 – Editing with TTS
Brian Rathbone runs a busy web presence and is author of the Godsland fantasy series. He is also a technologist and friend of fellow writers whom he features on podioracket.com I asked Brian to comment on how he uses text-to-speech (TTS) software to help him edit.
Do you find editing as challenging as I do? Though I employ professional editors, I try to catch the silly mistakes, so they can concentrate on more important factors. Even when I let my work sit for weeks before editing, my brain tends to see what it wants to see. Recently, though, I found technology that improves my editing: text-to-speech (TTS). While far from perfect, TTS has come a long way.
At first, I used TTS to listen to my manuscripts during road trips, which helped me identify plot holes, inconsistencies, and other high-level issues. Using TTS while editing at my computer provides even greater value. Errors my eyes glide over leap out at me from the audio, making my editing far more productive.
A number of devices support TTS, but I’m using an Android-based phone with an app called ezPDF. I even purchased a nicer sounding voice from SVOX. The software has a bad habit of pronouncing punctuation and mispronouncing some words, but for the $3 I have invested, I’m quite satisfied. I also realized I could mass replace some punctuation and change problem words to phonetic spellings, which yields a more pleasant listen. I just have to remember to make those changes in a separate document. Overall, I’ve found this technique extremely useful.
Do you use technology for editing? What makes your editing time more effective?