The Machine Reads

Good morning. I just wanted to check in. Yes, I am still here.

I am at that extra-maddening moment now. The novel is essentially finished. What is left now is the editor. 

However, that does not mean I get a vacation. Quite the opposite. This is in its way the toughest of times…

[Capture The Cause manuscript. Photo by me, October 18, 2021.]

I proof now until I can proof no more – a major reason my blogging has diminished recently. One easy way to help proofread your writing, I have also found, is to use Adobe Reader’s text reading aloud function. I have not done this before to this extent: an app reading the manuscript from start to finish while I listen and read along.

It is not a quick process. But I am finding it is well worth doing it. Even more than if a human takes it away and reads it, awkward passages and errors immediately rattle my ear, and I can then correct them on the spot: every accidentally omitted “the” or “an” jumps out at me.

A human proofeader may still miss stuff when reading, and that is to be expected. Our eye is imperfect, but tech (at least in this case) misses nothing. A sample:

[Click to hear Adobe Reader reading a couple of sentences. October 18, 2021.]

Helpful too is it is can also read the text in various voices and accents from both men and women. I have used the Kindle text reader on all of my books post-publication. My personal opinion: I have always felt my novels sound better when read aloud by a woman’s voice.

A downside with Adobe is – at least the version I have – it has some trouble with “complex” passages and/or “odd” punctuation. In those, there are occasional hesitations. They can be a bit disconcerting.

Then again, as humans we might hesitate now and then when reading aloud, too, of course.

[Photo by Karolina Grabowska on]

So that is the major reason I have been posting less here than usual in recent weeks – I am reading and listening and correcting, rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat.

I try to write even my initial draft as gramatically correct and story coherently as I can in order to try to reduce the amount I know I will have to clean up later. It is so easily offered as “writing advice” – we all see it – to “throw it” onto the page and then come back and fix it. That fails to allow for the reality of how that sort of “kicking the can down the road” so to speak may not always be the best default approach: “later” does catch up with you at some point.

Trying to get it “cleaner” in draft form earlier means fewer repairs are of course necessary “later.” That is not a small consideration. Yet regardless of how careful you try to be as you write, there are always ERRORS, ERRORS, ERRORS and making all of those TINY but necessary corrections and changes approaching the end of it all is a more intense and time-consuming effort than when you started out writing many months before… “Once upon a time…” LOL!

Anyway, I am back now to listening. And reading. Have a good Monday, wherever you are. 🙂