Friday, August 19, 2011

Screw Reading Rainbow. I Vote for Reading Robots!

Okay, so I recently discovered that text-to-speech programs are insanely helpful when it comes to editing and revisions. Yeah, the voices are robotic and somewhat reminiscent of a bad, futuristic 70's movie. Even still, hearing "Lola" read my MS out loud is handy. Here's why:

1) Lola doesn't read the words my brain insists are there -- I'm terrible for leaving words out when I write. No idea why. I think my brain just works faster than my over-sized, man-hands can keep up. (Yes, I have inordinately large hands and feet. We're not talking water skis here, but I'm 5'6, and I wear a size 10.) Anyway, it's really hard to for me to NOT see that word, because my brain thinks it's there whether it is or not. Lola doesn't let me skim.

2) Lola doesn't care that my sentence is one, long nightmare of a sentence -- She pushes right on through, letting me know, "Hey, genius, break it up!" I will say this though, she's great to pause in the right places. She recognizes ellipses, commas, etc. Way to go, Lola!

3) Lola lacks emphasis when she speaks -- This is a good thing! At the party in my head, all the characters have their own voices and inflections. I read my MS with these, but just because I see them doesn't mean it comes across in an obvious sort of way. Hearing someone else read it aloud, even Lola, let's me know if that sentence sounds like a distinct, I-meant-to-draw-that-out kind of phrase, or if it just sounds stilted. Without italicizing the words I want emphasized, more often than not, it's the latter. We all know the we can't italicize everything!

4) Lola reads to me for as long as I ask -- One chapter or ten, Lola keeps on going long after I would've quit. She's the Energizer Bunny of the robotic, text-to-speech realm, plus I don't feel like an idiot reading out loud to myself.

So, there are few pros for having a Lola of your very own. You can download my version of her here for free. There are upgrades available as well for different prices. I'll probably do this one day for the sake of entertainment. There are few joys as freaking awesome as typing inappropriate things in the "Try It" box and sending them to your spouse. Anyhow, they have a smooth talking guy named Rich. He's all suave in Johnny 5 (Short Circuit) sorta way. Then there's Claire. She's what the witch in Hansel and Gretel might've sounded like had it taken place on Alderaan.

My point is, uberhelpful + epic funny = All-time WIN!!!

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