Saturday, March 08, 2014

Enter, Dragon

One of the problems I have - since my day job as a newspaper editor involves typing and my second career as a fiction writer also involves typing -  is a lot of wear and tear on my hands and wrists and I've had to deal with carpal tunnel syndrome over the years. This past week I also sustained a relatively minor sprain to my right shoulder and that's been really painful, and the combination of the carpal tunnel and the sprained shoulder has kept me from keyboarding. It's just painful.

Well, I had an idea. I finally plunked down some money and went and bought Dragon voice recognition software and I've started to use it. In fact that's what I'm using to do this post. I'm dictating into Dragon. It seems to work.

Hopefully as I use this in the future it will take some of the wear and tear off my hands and my wrists and that should be helpful. It should allow me to write and post more regularly.

I just started using the software today. I installed this afternoon and started using it this evening. So, it seems to be going well.

Tonight I used it to start writing a new fantasy/science-fiction story. Apparently I dictate as fast as I type, which is about 1000 words an hour. But honestly, using Dragon is a lot less painful, and causes a lot less wear and tear on my wrists.

By the way, those of you know I like to write, when possible, with a typewriter probably think using this latest technology is strange. I'm not constitutionally opposed to new technology, I just like the tactile feel and the sound you get when you use a manual typewriter.

However, trust me, a manual typewriter is harder on your wrists than a keyboard, but the nature of a typewriter is that you go slower than on a keyboard, so therefore it is not as intense on your hands as a regular keyboard — especially if you type like I do, with two fingers.

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"It’s possible that you haven’t run into the stories of Lou Antonelli. Since 2003, he’s been publishing delightful short tales of alternate history all over the nooks and crannies of the SF world. Thanks to Fantastic Books, we now have 28 of these little gems in one place. "Many of Antonelli’s stories have an unexpected twist ending. And many of them are what he calls “secret history” stories, which aren’t exactly alternate history—they’re set in our familiar history, but there’s always some element that contemporary observers missed. " -

- Don Sakers, The Reference Library, Analog July-Aug. 2014

A better path develops for a distraught man in “Double Exposure” by Lou Antonelli (debut 6/11 and reviewed by Frank D). Jake is about to end it all. He has been trying to keep his high maintenance wife happy for decades and has needed to embezzle to satisfy her spending habits. Now, on the verge of indictment and abandoned by his spouse, he buys a gun. Before he pulls the trigger, he spies a Kodak one-day photo hut. Curious, he pulls up to the window. They are holding pictures of him and his last girlfriend from 30 years before. The package is a lot thicker than it should be. Double Exposure” is listed as an Alternative History story but I would classify it as a Magical Realism tale. It is set as a second chance tale, a look into a life that should have been. The author is inspired by his memories of the old photo huts (I remember them) and of their disappearance. A cool idea (photos of another life), one that I could imagine would make for a great anthology.

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