Thursday, August 06, 2009

The story so far...

Yesterday (and technically it was yesterday, since it was after midnight but I hadn't gone to bed Tuesday night yet) upon finishing the transcription of Larry Conners, I had a painful realization. Even with my using the Dragon Naturally Speaking software in a convoluted work-around of the transcription process (I'm listening to the interview in headphones and simultaneously speaking aloud what I hear, sort of like a United Nations translator, only I'm keeping it in English), were I to fully transcribe all the interviews I have in the can, it would be sometime in early September before I had all of the words turned to print. This is not good, because it seriously disrupts my plan of having a sample chapter polished and ready to submit to agents by the end of August.

As a side note (and I'm putting this in a separate paragraph, so as to not over-use parenthetical asides (which I seem to be doing quite a bit in this post)) the Dragon does seem to be working out, although not as magic bulletish as I'd hoped. It's dictation transcriber does indeed work faster than I can type (no great shakes there) but said time advantage is often lost when it chooses random words to stubbornly get confused on. There's no rhyme or reason, either. Consistently printing "their" when I say "there" is understandable--homophones and all. But when it successfully transcribes "Fayette County" a dozen times, then suddenly decides I'm really saying "fete colonoscopy" and won't take no for an answer, well, that gets downright frustrating. Still, it saves my fingers from the fatigue of typing, and even more importantly, avoids the spectre of carpal tunnel. So I'm sticking with it, despite the drawbacks.

Back to the problem at hand. What to do about too much interview material and not enough time? Simple, as it turns out: Cut to the chase. I've started going through my notes (and yes, I learned long ago to take notes for all interviews, whether I'm recording them or not) to find passages that are relevant to the chapter at hand. And then I transcribe them. This may sound like a no-brainer for most of you, but remember my interview background is that of much shorter projects in which the interview is used in its entirety. There was no advantage to pick and choose--if I had to have the entire thing transcribed, I might as well start at the beginning and work straight through to the end. This is a different way of working for me, and honestly, it feels like a cheat. But I may just meet my deadline this way.

I also conducted two short phone interviews yesterday as well. Curious stories about going to the Chicken Ranch, or not, as the case may be. These have to be transcribed as well. I'm just adding to my workload. I've also discovered several pieces of research material (nothing needed right this very moment, but still important in the grand scheme of things) seem to have up and vanished. Poof. Which is disconcerting, since they're quite distinct and should show up quite readily during even a cursory search. Hmmm...

Now Playing: Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band Nine Tonight

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