Ties that Bind: Letting Ms. Kindle read my novel mistake(s)

kindle_2366549bIt’s impossible to say how many drafts Ties that Bind has undergone. It’s been in revision since 2008, when I “finished” 50k words during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Each sentence, each scene, and each chapter has been reviewed and critiqued countless times by me and the very capable–not to mention very patient–members of Lone Mountain Writers. It’s now about 100k.

This past spring, I printed out and read the whole thing cover-to-cover in an attempt to get a sense of how it all hung together. Or didn’t. The result was a hard copy filled with highlights, sticky-notes, and huge sections crossed out. I’ve since made those changes in my manuscript. Nonetheless, I thought it needed (I needed?) one more going-over before letting a few beta readers take a look. (Obsess much?) And no, the MSWord spelling and grammar checks don’t catch everything.

Several people recommended reading it aloud to myself. Good idea, but I have been over this beast so many times, I’ve become “error blind.” I do not read the words that are there. I read the words that I think are there. Silly brain.

Then I remembered that my Kindle Fire has a Text-to-Speech feature. I’d listened to e-books while driving, but never used it with a document. I sent the document (a docx file) to my Kindle Fire. If you haven’t done it before it’s pretty easy with your Kindle’s email address. Find yours under “Settings” and “My Account” on your device.

You know what? It worked!

Ms. Kindle’s voice is female and a little mechanical, but certainly clear enough for my needs. I sat at the computer with the document on the screen and the ear-buds tucked in. I listened and made corrections as the nonjudgmental voice read exactly what was on the page. Bless her heart. She read every single typo, every syntax error, and every other embarrassing “little” thing that I hadn’t picked up in my repeated readings. Some errors were the ghosts of previous drafts–you know, tense or point of view changes.

While I couldn’t see them, I could certainly hear them.


Still,  as helpful as Ms. Kindle is, she can’t create the tension that compels a reader to keep turning pages. She can’t make my characters believable or likable. She can’t tell me which scenes and details are necessary and which were merely fun to write. Nor can she do the other thousand and one things to make this creation into a book that someone besides my family will want to read. That’s still up to me.

Stay tuned for further developments.



10 thoughts on “Ties that Bind: Letting Ms. Kindle read my novel mistake(s)

  1. GREAT post, Lorie!! I resemble that over and over –the drafts and angst about errors–not the tech stuff (I am still the second most tech illiterate person in the universe). If that is a “misery loves company” response, so be it. At least I am in GOOD company!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great idea! I don’t have a Kindle Fire, but Now I think I want one!
    Also, thanks for the NaNo reminder. I’ve got an idea in my head that’s busting to get out. That might be a the kick in the pants to start me off. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What determination and will power you have, Lorie. But I already knew that. I also know that you are skilled, possess insight into human nature, and understand good writing; so, all in all, I am anticipating your novel.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Finally got a chance to read this post. Text to speech helps a lot, except it’s embarrassing to have your sentences read back to you after you think you’ve “fixed them.” In my office, I have a wonderful human who looks over my stories and catch 90 percent of my flubs. I know I’m in for a question, when I hear a cackle from the computer at the far corner of the room. More than once, it’s been, “How do you write such long sentences. I got lost in this one!”

    Liked by 1 person

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