Thanks to The Digital Reader, I read the post by Morris Rosenthal of Foner Books that detailed how he uses the text-to-speech (TTS) function on his Kindle as a proofreading aid for his writing. I don’t have a Kindle, so I wondered if I could do the same with Microsoft Word, and after a quick search, I found the helpful instructions that got me on my way. I used the same method to activate the function in OneNote, which is my favorite writing program. Play around with the speed settings and find the right speed for your reader. I needed to adjust mine, as she was reading too fast, and it caused some words to run together.
Hearing your words spoken, even by a computer voice, can help you find errors your own voice or eyes may have missed. When a writer reads their own work, it is easy to overlook misplaced or missing words. Our eyes can easily deceive us, since our brains want to supply the words we had intended. Our ears are much more reliable. I love having more tools to help me edit and proofread my work.
Here are a few other sources I found that you may find interesting.
WordTalk is a free Widows text-to-speech plugin for Microsoft Word, and if you fancy, you can download a Scottish voice to read text back to you (free w/restrictions, or pay).
Another free program is YakiToMe! that touts it is the world’s leading unrestricted, free text-to-speech (TTS) website. You can “cut and paste” and type your text into the provided box, or upload a file, including a PDF. I typed in a simple sentence and enjoyed the robust reading and clear voice that read my words back to me.
Happy editing! Feel free to share any TTS programs that you use.
My father loved buffets. He loved the variety of food, and he enjoyed the opportunity to stuff oneself until the desire to be rolled out of the restaurant overcame the ability to walk. I never liked to make repeated trips to the buffet, so I had a tendency to pile one plate high with my choice of nibbles.
“Remember, your eyes are bigger than your stomach,” he’d chastise when he saw me attempting to balance one more serving atop a mound of food. He neither wanted to waste food, nor did he want me to become ill from overeating. I never had to worry about either of those problems. My parents, who claimed they had reached their fill, would pick at my plate and eat the remainders.
I am in the middle of a writing buffet, and my eyes are definitely bigger than my stomach. After declaring that I would throw my hat into the ring for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) writing competition, I have been stumbling across loads of other interesting contests and writing opportunities. My calendar from the end of September until the first of December is packed with the promise of writing two books (minimum of 50,000 words each), and editing a completed short story to transform into an e-book.
My father would be both proud and filled with concern. He’d warn me to get enough sleep, eat well, and take some time for fun. He would also know how important this is to me, give my shoulder a strong shake, and grin at me. He’d say, “Get to it!”
Off I go, attempting to balance my overloaded plate. I’m hungry for this work, and I aim to devour it, leaving nothing unfinished behind.