BTS007, Writing Fiction, Non-fiction, and Dabbling with Dictation
I want to start off this episode by acknowledging the fact that I’ve been a little inconsistent with this podcast. I’ve allowed myself to get distracted by a few personal issues and I had the joy of living in an apartment building with neighbours who play instruments with amps loudly and love slamming doors. All of this background noise was difficult to edit out of the podcast audio. I admit that I’ve allowed these things to get in the way of my recording schedule. However, I’ve moved apartments. So, this will not be an issue going forward.
My latest issue was WIFI access. I hate to admit it, but it’s hard to function without it. Our new flat is a part of a newly renovated building, and we’ve had to wait a few weeks for broadband. However, the wait is finally over. I’m super excited because I now have an office and I’ll no longer be working from the main bedroom.
While we’re on the topic of the episode inconsistency, I want to let you know that I’ve planned out the seasons of this podcast. So, it’s not a case of running out of ideas. At the moment the writing tip episodes are focusing on story structure. These episodes are helping me to re-evaluate the novels I’ve written so far and have helped me see them under a new light. I thought it would be beneficial to mention this instead of publishing episodes inconsistently and never saying anything.
BTS007, Writing Fiction and Non-fiction, plus Dabbling with Dictation
A Change to the Podcast
Before I dive into the writing update, I want to share a couple of minor changes to the podcast. As you can already tell by the new podcast artwork, I’ve changed the name of the podcast from The Indie Authorpreneur to Authorpreneur FM. I made this change to give my podcast more room to grow and not be solely focused on self-publishing, although this is my current situation.
Due to the nature of this podcast, I do a tonne of research for every episode, create blog posts, and show notes. One of the reasons why I do so much research is I don’t just want to share what I know because I realise that I don’t know everything about writing. In admitting this, I want you and future listeners of Authorpreneur FM to look back at these earlier episodes from season one, and still get value from them. I want the content of these episodes to be evergreen.
Over time, I’ve failed to keep on top of the four writing tip episodes and the four podcast diary episodes every month. I’ve also noticed the balance between writing and content creation was starting to change. To restore this balance to equal distribution between writing and content creation, I’m considering changing the podcast frequency to two Writing Tip episodes and two Behind the Scenes Podcast Diary episodes per month. I will let you know when this change will happen. Before I make this change, I want to give myself one last chance to master consistency with my current schedule. So, I guess my question for you is, do you think I should change the frequency of the podcast, or push myself to be more consistent? Would you prefer two writing tip episodes and two podcast diary episodes per month or four of each? Let me know by sharing your thoughts in the comments section.
A Writing Update
As I look back over the Behind The Scenes Podcast Diary episodes, I’ve realised that I’ve given the impression that not much writing happens. Well, it does. Life has seasons, and so does writing. I was revising Immunity for so long. And, I felt that it had been a while since I wrote the first draft of a fiction novel. I’m pleased to announce that I’m writing the first draft of Missing and revising the second edition of a non-fiction book at the same time. It’s much easier than it sounds. You can write fiction and revise non-fiction at the same time. The reason why this works is that the genres are so different.
SMARTER Goal Setting Second Edition
My book, SMARTER goal setting is officially ready for a manuscript critique. I’m both excited and terrified all at once. Before submission, a few smaller sections need to be rewritten and expanded. These changes will only take a few short writing sessions.
The second edition revisions resulted in, a reduction in the word count by cutting out sections of the book that I felt weren’t relevant to the overall concept. These cuts mean I reduced the word count by 5,241 words. SMARTER Goal Setting is still a short non-fiction book, but it’s now at 26,487 words. The book feels tighter and stronger.
I’ve also created a SMARTER Resource Hub full of worksheets to go with the book. Now that I’ve mentioned the hub, I need to expand the introduction to include it, and how to access the worksheets. I’m also considering rebranding this self-help book as a solution to a problem. So, instead of calling it SMARTER Goal Setting it will have a ‘how to’ style of title. This title should make the books more search-engine friendly and give a clearer understanding of what the book can do for the reader. I’ll keep you updated on these changes.
As I revised the second edition, I started to struggle with writer’s insecurity. I felt that some of the content in my book was similar to the content of other books in the self-help niche. Now, that I’ve finished revising the second edition and can get perspective, I realise that much non-fiction has been written before. Being truly original is hard. The point of non-fiction is to help the reader solve a problem. Quite often people will read the same advice multiple times before they take action. So, I’ve concluded that while my book isn’t revolutionary or original, it helps my readers to set and achieve their goals and start living their dream life.
On Writing a Novella
During my trip to Paris on the Eurostar, I edited the outline for Missing in preparation for writing the first draft. I had intended the story to be of novella word length at around 26,000 words Ambitiously, I planned to release the book before the summer holidays in July. As I record this podcast episode, I’ve written 17,590 words for this story, and I’ve reached the midpoint of the story. My current word count does indicate that the word count will be around 33,000 words upon completion which is more than my previously estimated 26,000 words. Let’s just say, I’m behind schedule and I won’t be making that ambitious deadline.
However, I have sent the first act of the story to my alpha reader for feedback. And, I’ve revised the first three scenes and released them on my author blog at authoradhay.com. As I revised the first few scenes in the novella, I realise that I’m becoming a better writer. The improvement is quite significant. I’m filtering and telling less in Missing than I did in Immunity and I’m having fewer issues with point of view. Part of the reason for this is, Missing is the third thriller I’ve written.
For those of you who are unaware, I didn’t write my first three thrillers in order. After I finished the first draft of Immunity, I decided to write a prequel novella, titled Silence. This novella ended up over 55,000 words which makes it a novel. So, I decided not to give Silence away for free. This unexpected novel length, lead me to come up with the idea for Missing. As a result of this idea for Missing, I now have two prequel stories. So, I’ve decided to include my novella, Missing in the James Lalonde series as book one. This new change means Immunity is now the third book in the series. It’s far less confusing than a first in the series with two prequels.
The Midpoint Slump
I’m also struggling with self-doubt in regards to my fiction writing. While I mentioned earlier that I could see improvements in my writing, there is a part of me that feels like an imposter. I haven’t felt like this about my writing in quite a while, but I’m putting this insecurity down as a side effect of the midpoint slump.
Even though I have the entire story mapped out scene by scene, I’m struggling with resistance. I know what I need to write but the writing has become hard and I find myself looking for excuses to put it off until tomorrow. What is making this resistance an even bigger struggle is I feel exhausted. Last night, Roland mentioned to me that we haven’t been on holiday since December. I’m not entirely sure if I should give myself a break or push myself to keep writing even if it’s a scene a day.
Trying Out Dictation
As I started to prepare the notes for this podcast, I became aware of the pain in my wrists and fingers. In light of this new found pain, I attempted to write the first draft of Missing using voice dictation. I started experimenting with dictation while writing the first draft of a few blog posts and was surprised by the experience but, that’s writing non-fiction. I realise that writing fiction via dictation will bring its challenges. So, I may have to go through and do a light grammar edit to make the initial read through easier and less painful.
Since I first wrote the notes for this podcast diary, I’ve started outlining the scenes using voice dictation to ease myself into writing. I wrote the first two scenes with dictation, and it took a few hours to write and edit the short scenes. And, I’ve shelved the idea of dictation for now because I struggled with a sore throat for weeks on end. This unexpected event has made it difficult to dictate. Based on what I now know, in the future, I will dictate the scene notes or outline, then write the scene the old-fashioned way.
I’ve been researching voice dictation for quite some time. It’s a habit I’ve picked up from my husband who has a serious need to research before making purchases. The necessary tools you need for dictation are a microphone and software. Because, I have this podcast, I already have a great microphone. I use the Samson Meteor USB microphone. It turned out to be a great purchase not just because it was affordable. I purchased it on Amazon for forty-five pounds.
Now, let’s talk about software. I have a mac, and I’ve done enough research to know that dragon for mac isn’t worth its hefty price tag. There are many complaints online from users about crashes and a host of other issues with the Mac version of the software. I’m also not prepared to host the software on a cloud so I can use the windows version on my Mac. Therefore, I’ve decided to dictate using the inbuilt software in Scrivener. I’m expecting to have a few issues at first, and I’m not hoping to achieve a high level of accuracy. It’s going to take a while for the computer to get used to my accent, and the way I construct sentences. However, all of this will be worth it because I’m doing this for my health. I’ll keep you updated on my experiences with voice dictation after I’ve used it for at least thirty days or more.
Are you writing using voice dictation? Alternatively, have you been thinking about using dictation? I want to hear from you. Let me know by sharing your experience or research about dictation in the comments section below.
Thank you for listening, and happy reading and writing, everybody.
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I’m Amelia. I write Mystery Novels under the pen name A. D. Hay. And, I’m the author of Missing, the first book in the James Lalonde series. On this blog, I help new writers to finish their first draft, prepare their manuscripts for professional editing, and when they get stuck in the first draft phase or are confused about the revision process. Right now, I’m editing and preparing my soon to be published mystery novels, Duplicity, 24 Hours, and Immunity for publication.