New Tool In The Stable

 The Novel Factory. ( This is not an affiliate link 🙂 )

Noticed this on a Utube ‘How To’ from Alli. And I know I am a sucker for new shiny objects in the stationary and software dept but this one had the major plus of being cheap 🙂 – I took the free week but converted it quickly to a permanent bit of kit.

Gave it a test drive today – runs alongside Scrivener rather than replacing it for the planning and outlining – it will do a lot more than that – I love the clean interface and the fact it is blue based which I find inspiring and gives me little eye strain.

It also imported, without grumbling, whole MSs compiled in Scrivener, once I replaced the scene dividers with # # #. What is not to like about that?! No cut and paste finger tennis needed and whole series’ imported without a grunt from it or me 🙂

The Future…

I want to move to working on two screens and the laptop over the summer if I can, as having several things open at once and flicking between them on the laptop is getting to be a real PIA.  My small netbook, that I used to use as a small screen, got so choked by Dropbox and the gang that I had to gut it – it just about copes with One Note – and Gordon gets distracted by my file use on Dropbox if I use his laptop when he is away so I am saving up for separate monitors for mine.

The other issue for me with that is that my wings will be clipped for good as two monitors won’t travel far so new writing and editing alike will be bound in the top of the dairy loft – AKA The Cell. I am starting to get some practice in now with the new writing – I am moving from longhand and so I see no reason not to go to the loft for those hours.

I will miss taking the notebook and writing where ever I find myself, parked in the van, in someone’s yard, sprawled on Eggardon with the horse grazing nearby or on the end of the pier at West Bay; in 27, but most of all I will miss writing in my old kitchen at the table looking at the view between words and thoughts. Whilst I may be able to still work there sometimes, once we move back in I will get shunted out of the way again.

Happy days 🙂

1st Edit Resumed At Last…

1st Edit Resumed At Last…



I joined in with Holly Lisle’s live writing room that she had set up to support her students during NaNoWriMo and wrote a new first scene for this book based on the work I had done the last few months – I am pleased with it.

I have been collecting information and advice on big casts of characters – or ‘handling teams’ as I prefer to think of it 🙂 and I have a suitable pile of books, audio and ebooks to get through – I have gone towards more screen writing advice areas as most ‘How To Write…’ books say ‘avoid multiple protagonists and big casts’ – fine if you read those books first – and want to write the next Jack Reacher or James Bond, Marple or Poirot – but I had already written 6 books and series when I started looking at such advice 🙂 and personally I think that as I grew up with TV shows of multiple characters – from Scooby Doo to NCIS and GOT it would be a surprise if I did want to write about one character – and the books I read also tend to be big casts and long series of what ever genre.

Student Is Ready And Teacher Appears…

I have just finished back to back reading of the Winston Graham series Poldark – I am old enough to remember the first TV outing as well as this current remake so I thought it would be a good exercise to read them through – I did no research before doing this and it ended up being fascinating – it took me all the time my dog Brin was poorly and then just past his death – so 5 weeks to read through – and after I had finished with a (very) few questions in mind I googled the Author – I was amazed to find that the first had been published in 1945 and the last in 2002 the year before he died aged 95 – as some one who is writing series – though not adult historicals – I learnt a great deal about what the reader sees in terms of continuity and story line – the few hiccups I felt as I read coincided with a gap in production or characters growing up, a few references to action we never saw and wasn’t relevant and getting Ross to go else where to be a hero and superimposing a murder mystery at the end that didn’t really involve any main character etc etc which even they were so slight that had I read them on publication I doubt I would have felt them and in a series written over 60 years I thought it was an immense achievement of entertainment – I felt at the end of Bella as if there could have been one last book left to finish the tale – but that all in all one could guess the likely progress of them all so it didn’t really need spelling out:) The set piece scenes were so well researched they lived on the page and the humour was Laugh Out Loud – especially Pruddie and Jud – and I felt that the depiction of the Cornish native and working environment every bit as good as the Dorset ones of  Hardy.

And So To Work… 🙂




Dragon Trained…Using Windows 10, Dragon and iPhone 6 for transcription and dictation.:)

Using Windows 10, Dragon and iPhone 6 for transcription and dictation.


Dragon training…

1. Install Dragon 13 Premium version or above on lap top.
2. Install (both FREE) Dragon Remote MIC APP and Dragon Dictate MIC APP on the iPhone 6.
3. Set up a separate user profile for Dragon remote MIC APP and DragonDictate MIC APP I have also set up a separate user profile for Dragon desktop on my laptop.


         Do one lot of training and save it and when it wants you to retrain for each thing – chose that file – it will save you HOURS:0 🙂 This was easier to set up than one user profile with many dictation sources. However the Dragon desktop or laptop profile ALSO needs to have set up a separate dictation source for the Remote MIC APP and for any microphone that you have to plug into it. Windows 10 does not support an external microphone that has two connectors you need to buy a USB external stereo sound adapter and you need to buy an SC3TTRS to TRS adapter with your microphone and they all need to be joined in tandem/in line before your Windows 10 machine will hear what you say and you can train your Dragon profile.
         The microphone that I bought was a RODELav microphone which I can use directly into the iPhone 6 to record to Dragon Remote MIC and DragonDictate MIC without having to have earphones in constantly, the microphone is tiny and clips onto clothes and gives a very good sound quality. This microphone if connected in a way I described above gives a very good sound quality when dictating straight to the laptop as well. (Thanks to Joanna Penn for the  tip with that 🙂 )
         It is important that if you use DragonDictate MIC when you are out and about that you open DragonDictate profile on your laptop when you want it to transcribe ditto you must have Dragon Remote MIC profile open if you wish to use the wireless function between the iPhone and laptop and not use an external microphone. It is possible to have one profile and more than once source of audio input but while I was setting this up I found it was easier to work on one thing at a time – it can always be changed later and any way only I use this machine…:)
         It is possible to use Dragon Remote MIC with your laptop running Windows 10 instead of the inbuilt MIC on the Windows machine by following instructions for paring the two machines wirelessly – there is a very easy nuance U Tube video for this.
          It is not easy to wirelessly transfer and transcribe recorded audio from DragonDictate MIC to a Windows 10 laptop running Dragon because the file is in the wrong format/does not transfer out of the Dragon web site in a recognisable form for some reason – it is possible if you follow the instructions and you have an Internet connection to wirelessly transfer your dictation to the Dragon website where it can be viewed and listen to – but it is better to connect the iPhone 6 to the computer and open iTunes if you want to transcribe it.
         With iTunes open and your phone connected choose APPS scroll down till you see DragonDictate MIC click on that, and your recordings will appear on the right-hand side and then you scroll further down for the opportunity to save. Save the audio file to a place on the desktop/laptop – NB avoid saving to Dropbox if you wish to do this quickly as audiofile takes a while to sync.
         Having saved by copying and pasting to a desktop/laptop file, open Dragon and choose transcribe audio by following the on-screen instructions to select the audio file from the desktop file, and click okay and it will appear on-screen, when you have finished checking through, ‘save as’ to the file of your choice on your laptop. This will not have deleted the original audio file on iTunes or on your phone.
         It is possible to transfer files wirelessly between the iPhone 6 and the Dragon website as long as you don’t use Chrome to open the site and follow the links- no idea why but you just use Edge and that works- those files need to be copied and pasted into the free software called Audacity in order to be turned into WAV files which Dragon can read they can then be saved in the manner mentioned above and used exactly the same way.
        If Dragon dictate has not been used for the recording then any other recording source i.e. Voice Memo on iPhone 6 can also be transferred the same way BUT Voice Memo is in MP4 file format so it also needs to be run through Audacity before going to Drangon for transcription.
         To ‘run through’ Audacity simply install audacity use it to ‘import the audio file’ and then click on the X the top right corner to close it – it will then tell you that you need to use the ‘export’ button – I found that as audiofiles can take a while to load this option wasn’t always there instantly – but if you wait a few moments it appears once the file has uploaded – choose ‘export’ and export to your desktop/laptop file and it will automatically be saved as a WAV file – without you having to do anything to it at all. However Audacity does provides a good mechanism for replaying and for editing if you want to…
        One mistake I made was in thinking – having watched several YouTube videos and read quite a few how-to’s – that I needed to use the phone’s Wi-Fi and cable at the same time – this is not the case and in fact Windows 10 does not allow you to transfer wirelessly to Dragon in a format that Dragon can read. Once I realised this I was able to develop a system of recording and transcribing, at the moment I’m dictating this straight into Dragon box using the lapel microphone and connectors, I could also have used this microphone plugged into the iPhone 6 which was placed adjacent to the laptop and if I had it would also be necessary to go into the settings of the iPhone 6, and turn the ‘autolock’ to ‘never’ – as when you are using Dragon Remote MIC with iPhone 6 and the ‘autolock’ kicks in Dragon remote MIC stops, does not remember what you were saying and this can be very annoying if you are reading/revising a draft and not concentrating on the screen.
         I have owned Dragon for several years and not successfully managed to produce a transcription until this last week – I did not understand that there was not a good tie-up between Apple products and Windows and I did not understand the file formats that were involved MP3, MP4 and WAV so I got some very unreliable results – which put me off using it as it became so distracting! Now I have worked out that I need to have the correct format file -which I can get by using the free software Audacity to convert to the correct format anything that I’ve previously recorded – say in Voice Memo iPhone 6 which is MP4. I can pretty much transcribe anything I want and I am very impressed by the speed it does this.
         I use DragonDictate with my RODE LAV microphone when I am out walking for notes, first draft thoughts, prose and for my non-fiction projects and for generally thinking out loud. I find this works really well even when fairly windy and when I come indoors I simply download the audio and see it transcribed – I generally do not edit as I go – I can easily search the transcription even if it has little punctuation – I am teaching myself when thinking out loud to say ‘full stop new paragraph’ every now and again – so that the ideas are broken up on the transcription page and are easy to search. Before I worked this out I would have to listen to my audio notes to know what I’d said – which was quite time-consuming – now while I’m making a coffee it’s doing a printout and I can file it for future reference or delete it.
         I tend to store a copy of the audio in Evernote by copying and pasting. Each time I do this I sync as it takes a while – and I do not encourage anyone to synch more than two files at any one time if they want carry on working with the laptop – equally if you use Dropbox as much as I do – choose your moment to move audio files into dropbox as it is again time consuming.
         A tip from Joanna Penn I heard recently – when dictating for audio, and you make a mistake – if you need a clean audio file – is to clap – then as you run it through -say Audacity – you can see a spike on the graphic where the mistake is you need to sort out. I am only keen to be able to transcribe rough ideas for saving and to produce transcription to screen of first draft at the moment so I don’t need this myself – yet 🙂
         There are other microphone makes, and probably other third-party software that could be used instead the ones I’ve mentioned – these are the ones that I have used, not ones I’m affiliated to in any way. I found several useful YouTube videos from Nuance software about DragonDictate APP and Dragon Remote MIC APP, and through listening to Joanna Penn – on some of her recent broadcasts The and Facebook live epsodes – I have managed to piece together the problems that I was having with Dragon and the iPhone 6 – and work out that why the combination was not working for me was down to the fact I was running Windows as opposed to an Apple Laptop AND that this version of Windows would not recognise a single conected MIC jack microphone – it may do but not with my level of skill:)
(If you are using Apple to Apple or Windows 10 to other Smartphone this isn’t relevant and Windows versions on lap tops with a separate MIC and Headphone jacks can also plug and play other MICs without USB etc)