Monday, May 13, 2019

Dictating Stories

How many of you out there have tried dictating stories? I just tried this , as I had to keep pausing and saw how fun and how tedious such a process can be.

As someone who grew up using tape recorders, I had a longing for using one to attempt a story dictation. And because the book from which I got the idea was published in the 1990s, it said to use a tape recorder, since some people were still using these things at the time. I have a cassette player on my CD player that I got in 1991 (and still use today) but the cassette player no longer works. And by coincidence recently I spotted a blank cassette tape at Goodwill one day. 

I really wanted to try this method, but was unsure what to do, until someone  I know said you can record on your phone. So I gave this a try, recording two short pieces of a story. Trying to transcribe them took a while as I had to keep pausing the recording on my phone. I would have had to do the same on a tape recorder, but I was used to the idea of pausing, rewinding and stopping a tape since I had one for many years. I was also reminded of how I once tried to record a story onto to a tape recorder. But pausing my phone to listen to a recording was new to me. I have no idea how to rewind such recordings, so each time I paused then accidentally stopped the recording, I had to start it over again. In some ways, this worked to allow my to go over what I had typed so far.The

In the book where I saw this idea, it said that 15 minutes of tape can fill 10 pages or more. On my phone, I saw that you can record up to 60 minutes at a time. But since this was new to me, I decided to do a little at a time, ending up with five minutes on the first recording I did, six on the second one. I ended up with nearly three pages (on Apple Pages) with the first recording and nearly two from the second recording. I had to transcribe each one on separate days because the pausing and subsequent replaying and typing quickly wore me out. I made yet another recording that I have yet to transcribe.

The book said to transcribe word for word without editing as you go. But I found myself doing just that. Often when I write a story on paper, I find myself editing and redoing it as I type it onto the computer. I found transcribing spoken material to be not much different and the habit of editing as I go is a bit hard to break. I say do whatever works for you. The book said once the entire story is on paper, the next step is to rewrite the story for sense and sentence structure, adding any embellishments you wish. I do intend to do this step.

I'm not sure how often I will try this method, but it can be fun once in a while.


  1. I don't like the sound of my voice. So never.
    Good luck.

  2. I tried this for a bit while I walked.

  3. Have a productive day and pleasant evening.