Saturday, July 26, 2014
Call it a blond thing, learning disabilities, or selective blindness, but I tend to make those clumsy errors that can kill a manuscript right out of the gate.
Hello, Slush Pile! Please add my novel to your bludgeoning “to be shredded” bin.
Natural Reader, a text-to-speech software program by NaturalSoft Limited, has made a huge difference in my work. It can help you too.
While the program will also read webpages, emails, PDFs, etc., I’ll be focusing on how to use it as a “first reader” for those early drafts of your stories. At least when you send your manuscript to a professional editor (always recommended), you won’t have to send aspirin along with it!
A Few Virtues of Natural Reader
NaturalSoft has excellent customer service. The sales team helped me make my move from Windows to Mac successful.
The voices do sound natural—within reason. No, Heather and Kate won’t surpass Singularity anytime soon, but that’s a good thing.
Writing instructors are notorious for telling you to read with zero inflection. After all, an honest reading is what counts. The Natural Reader Voices can do that.
What is on the page is what you get—zero varnish.
It can help with dialogue, scenes, and even plot.
I use the current version, Natural Reader 3.0 for my Mac, but I also have Natural Reader 12 on the Cloud.
You have access to 30 different voices on the Natural Reader Cloud. Pick a reader that suits you. I recommend changing voices for different levels of editing.
My favorite offline voices are Kate and Paul, the readers I started with years ago on Windows. Another voice I recommend is Heather for either Windows or Mac. She sounds younger, which fits my heroine better.
Until they can make Jay Snyder into a robo-reader, Mike, Ryan and Paul aren’t half bad.
Here we go. Launch Natural Reader.
Using MS Word, or whatever writing software you prefer, copy and paste your text into the Natural Reader window.
The Cloud version.
Select a voice, set your preferred reader speed, and give it a listen. You’ll be surprised at the things your tired eyes have missed.
Try Natural Reader here.
Pricing varies. It’s under $70 for Personal or Education Silver editions. A bit steep, but worth every penny. Plus, as an existing customer, I was able to upgrade for cheaper. No, I do not get a commission for this blog. Ho hum.
How to convert your writing into an Mp3 and play it on your mobile device. You know, for the obsessed folks out there! Got you covered.