Thursday, December 13, 2007

Text to speech tools, The Creed and other things

Saw this list of TTS tools on doggdott.us.

I've been playing with them and the one I like the most right now is Spokentext.

As a recent Catholic convert, I find myself stumbling through the Creed. I made these recordings with Spokentext to help here. I'm currently using a recording I made using VozMe.com, which is very easy to use and doesn't embed the ad in the recording, on my iPod. I set the iPod to repeat the same song and listen to it and talk along while in the car. I think I've about gotten it down.

Anyway, I've posted the Spokentext recordings. And he made them, Male and Female. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

With Spokentext, you can upload arbitrarily long texts, like Spe Salvi, for example. I've recorded this, but I can't post that, because it's copyrighted material.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

NaNoWriMoReView

As I reported last, I "Won" this year's NaNoWriMo.

It was a wonderful experience. It was the first fiction I ever wrote and it certainly showed. I like the ideas behind the story I wrote and I may rewrite it someday, but until then, it won't see the light of day.

There are a few things I would do differently now.

First, I would have studied writing I admired more for structure. I wrote like I talk, lots of odd digressions and rambling. My story was very challenging because it was had a lot of back-story to get out and I'm not satisfied that I did get all the back-story out very well (or did anything very well, actually).

Then, the pacing was poor. I had 40,000 words (the NaNoWriMo goal is 50K) and less than half the story told. Perhaps I should have followed the advice of the FAQ Entry and did my 50K without finishing my story, but I felt that was cheating somehow. So, I decided which scenes and facts from the story arc were absolutely necessary and rushed through them and got out the complete story. I'm somewhat glad I did, although the result is scary bad.

It was a very positive experience. I'd recommend it to anyone, but I will warn you that it is more work than you think it'll be. Especially if you hadn't written before, like me.

Now, I think I'll focus on some short stories. I've got a story idea that's been kicking around for awhile that I might just throw together. I'd be surprised if I could do more than 20K words on this story, but that's a good size short story. 50K is really short for a Novel. I think I could easily take my story and flesh it out to 150-200K, which is more typical of the length of a Novel. I'm concerned that I don't have the skills necessary to do justice to my story ideas, but we all suffer with our limitations and I don't know why my stories shouldn't suffer with my limitations.

I'm going to try and read more, also. I think I'll read what's at hand rather than any great plan. Right now, I'm going through C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia. I'd never read them before. They are fun but not as interesting as I thought they'd be. I'd read some of Lewis' other works years ago, stuff for adults like Screwtape and I thought they'd have more observations like I found there. Well, they are for children, so I should give them a break, I guess.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I'm back, perhaps for a limited time only

After that last post, I just didn't feel like writing any more.

I'm seriously considering deleting the last post, about my friend Margaret Patton. If you do a Google Search for Margaret Patton, I believe it's the first link. I know that Google customizes results based on information it keeps about you, so your mileage might vary, but I'm not comfortable with my reminisces and the broken link to the news article being the Internet Record of Margaret Patton's life. If you read this and have an opinion, one way or the other, I'd love to hear it. As always, it's Jordan dot Henderson at gmail dot com.

The problem, for me, with blogging is that the things that really interest me have aspects that are too personal to share on a blog. I see a lot interesting blogs out there, they talk about their lives, people they know are carelessly insulted or criticized in public. I don't feel comfortable doing that.

I think it is possible to blog, be interesting and be charitable at the same time. It's harder to do it right, but that's no reason not to try.

Let's see. A lot has happened since I last posted. I don't think I ever wrote about my weight loss. When I posted my last, I was still working on it. I was down by 110 pounds at one point. Now, I'm back up about 20, but I think I'll fight my way back to where I want to be.

I was accepted into full communion in the Roman Catholic Church, April 7th, 2007 at St. Francis of Assisi Church.


Just last night, I finished my novel and became a Winner of the 2007 NaNoWriMo.