Transcriptions from another world…

Early iPad PrototypesI just lost an hour’s worth of writing time tonight. Drat.

I should say that my process is a little bit different than usual right now. It’s NaNoWriMo, so I’m working on a smaller project and trying to make better use of the available technologies in order to get it done within the deadline.

Last year, I managed to finish two novellas, one of which — a small follow up to Assam & Darjeeling called “The Cradle” — will be out by Christmas (yes, I’m running late).

ScribeAll my work last year was done on my iPad, using Evernote — which worked very well for my purposes.

This year, however, I decided to finally find a way to make the Scribe software work for me. I’ve had Scribe for a year and, despite my best efforts, I’ve had trouble finding the right headset to capture my vague ramblings during my two hour commute.

(And, before you send me your suggestions, I should mention that I’ve gone through at least seven different Bluetooth and wired solutions.)

For a while, I gave up ever making it work. Which was a shame, because that almost two hours of driving time was a real opportunity to be productive.

But I decided to give it one more shot this year for NaNoWriMo . . . and after a number of false starts, I eventually found this microphone/headset on Amazon which seemed to do the trick. Quite nicely, in fact.

What this means is that my NaNoWriMo project this year is being created almost entirely through the spoken word, rather than typing or writing.

A bit of a risk, I’ll admit. but I’ve always trusted my voice. When I find myself at a brick wall, a good session of walking and talking to myself will usually help get things back on track.

And so far, it’s been working fairly well. I’m well past the target word count set for this point and certainly on track to pass the 50,000 word mark. Given my current progress — I’m just over 30,000 words — I expect to hit the goal well ahead of the end of the month.

I don’t know if I’ll be done with the first draft by then, but this is a story that’s been percolating for a long time in the back of my head and without NaNoWriMo it probably would’ve been a few years at least before I ever got around to writing it. So that’s okay.

So far, so good. The microphone does a good job of filtering out the ambient noise of the car and the scribe software is fairly good at transcribing the recordings. However, from time to time, Scribe misfires and I end up with some interesting translations. The software allows you go in and correct things so that, in time, it learns your speech patterns and quirks of pronunciation.

I like technology that learns from me. I like the organic, almost Darwinian nature of it.

Tonight, however, for some reason, it choked. Utterly.

I’d been working for an hour or so — which means that I was walking around in my office, talking to myself.

As midnight approached, I stopped to import my work so far into the Scribe software. It’s an easy process and pretty routine at this point. Typically I just let it run and then cut-and-paste the results into Scrivener or Evernote so I can make any corrections I want to after the fact. And, of course, I save the audio source for reference, just in case I need them later.

Tonight I decided to peek in on what Scribe was doing . . . and what I saw surprised me.

Here’s the first paragraph that appeared onscreen as the transcription began…

of will when you are is a work in a law of the earth to all and to the are you is your own or a to her to a window or in a will of her and her is you will is a will to the are you a to the eye to her or her own go as long as you would go her as a dove or a will or is it the night to will her a long one of her of her to her or he will or will your are off to a good or a well-known and her mother are you at a that I know what you are in a third or a to God or all around with the new and will do a good is a very who will or is it a world in her of her and her are her murder or is it moral or, as you are are are are are are are are are are are are are are are those your review of it that are or I will tell you is or is is a to you or your

Not exactly what I’d been working on the night, you’ll have to take my word for it. So, figuring there was some kind of glitch, I thought I might try again.

Here’s what the second attempt produced…

Him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him and you are past or will we will work for you guys are the is will go to that are all well and good to her from her to a will or will on the other are you going to do well in a will will give you a will go to her for her or him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him both were her mother nude to him and him or him him him him him

Whoever he is, he needs to get the hell out of my software. And stay away from my mom.

Erm . . . third time’s a charm, right?

Him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him or check test test him and we will when it is a work to be a guy that I was a law will be a very good after my workout how you and I are in a to them as a children are a will to a to her and her window to in a little over five and a will to him or her off to a good or a to him on a how are you and I are in a perfect or are you a thing or to a guy a noble or to her as a loan to her role as a little boy all her weight is a to her or him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him a note and he is in a will or will not kill him will be a little under a something of a month or and he had a to below are her to go to her idol John Gartner for her or him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him or him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him a moment when he is a phone number is to have a go… away you are or know him as a by a return to him and him in a to him in a all-around with a view to him and him to do your will for him him him him him him or him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him or him him him him him him him him him or him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him him and he will him and him and him or her to a girl named veteran Aaron and how to murder your him and he won’t, and then you are doing will love him or him him him him him him

There’s something a little creepy about all that, actually.

I don’t particularly like losing work. It’s been a long time since I’ve ever “lost” anything I was working on. In fact, it’s been over a decade.

On this project, losing an hour’s worth of time isn’t the end of the world. I’ve got a good sense for where I’m at in the story and what I’m doing. There’s always the audio to go back to, if I need to transcribe something manually. And it’s turned out that this story has a lot more autobiographical elements in it than usual, so the memories I’m drawing on are fairly easy to draw out once again if I need to.

And, to be honest, in these kinds of circumstances I have a tendency to trust the process, to trust the gods.

Everything happens for a reason. If I have to rewrite something, it’s probably because something important was lost the first time through . . . and this is my chance to get it back again.

It is worth noting however that tonight I was talking about one of the first, and only, times I ever attempted an EVP session.

I’m writing about ghosts. I’m writing about technology.

And, for some reason, tonight it turns out that technology is something that — inexplicably — isn’t working for me.

Creepy.

Shrug. It happens.

One thought on “Transcriptions from another world…

  1. Over on Twitter, the gloriously deviant @DarkGracie asks “Do you think the ghosts are buıʞɔnɟ with you?”

    To which, I respond: “I don’t think it’s anything more than technology getting a little buggy. But that’s not as interesting a blog post.”

    True that.

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