Saturday, June 1, 2013

Speed Writing

Scott D. Parker

As quoted by a modern American icon, “I feel the need, the need for speed.” I don’t suppose I’m alone in wishing for a little more speed in the writing output. When I read about the output the old masters like Lester Dent, Erle Stanley Gardner, and other great pulp masters, I get envious of their productivity. Granted, the motivation was helped tremendously by the mere fact that they were most likely putting food on the table based on their writing output, but you get the point. They wrote fast, yet they also wrote well.

In trying to get my writing chops honed up, I started writing a little short story. Said story is one that I expected not to take me too long. You know: get the idea fleshed out, get it written, move on to the next story, flex the imagination chops. Not so. The “little” story is taking on a life of its own. I’m almost done with it, but I’m at 12,000 words and I still have a scene or three to go. True, I’m not hampering where the story is taking me and I know that I’ll hack away at it when it’s complete, but I actually expected it to take less time. Mental note for myself: make sure the next one really does take less time.

The only issue is, of course, typing speed. I can only type so fast and I only have a certain amount of time per day that I devote to writing.  I’m carving out more time now that school’s out and I can wake up at the same time each day (6am) and have some additional time to write. That’s a great thing, you know? And I’m already using my speech recognition software to dictate notes, emails, and blogs (not this one today), but I haven’t managed to use it for an entire story. That’ll be later this summer. I'll let y'all know how that goes.

I guess my only other option is to type faster. Or make more time per day to write. Seems like there should be some sort of typing regimen you can take to speed up your typing. 

Are there any tips you know to write faster? Anyone you know of have success with dictation?

Album of the Week: Random Access Memories by Daft Punk

 I'll be honest: I can't say that I had never heard of this band before a fortnight ago, but it's close. NPR Music featured them recently and I then I listened to the streaming album on iTunes. This record hit me like a ton of bricks. I love it! It hits so many cues, from 1970s disco and electronica to 1980s synth pop. I'm not normally drawn to 80s music anymore--despite that being the tunes I listened to in my formative years--but this collection of songs is making me consider it. Daft Punk is a dance band consisting of two guys who always seem to dress up as robots. In listening to this collection of 13 songs, it can be kind of fun to name check all the echoes and homages and musical references: disco, Donna Summer, Steely Dan, Kraftwerk, Vangelis, Hall and Oates, Earth Wind and Fire, and the Apparat Organ Quartet, to name just a few. There are two highlights. One is a song where composer Giorgio Moroder talks about his past and early career while the music plays underneath. I'll leave it to Moroder fans to let me know if there are passages in this song (a nice, low-key, lounge-y groove that morphs into a jazzy, electric piano middle) that harkens to Moroder's work, but it's fantastic. In the center of the LP is a collaboration with Paul Williams. If he did nothing else, Williams' composition of "Rainbow Connection" from the 1979 Muppet Movie is more than enough for me. "Touch" starts out with some 1970s electronica/scary music/space music type thing, and then shifts to a quiet, somber section. Williams' voice is fragile, honest, yet can still bring it. The "waka waka" guitar signals the transition to a song that would have graced the top of the charts circa 1978, complete with brass section, soprano sax solo, and strings. 

It's only June, but this album is clearly the one to beat for my favorite album of 2013. Highly recommended.


Gerald So said...

Hi, Scott. I know Lee Goldberg, author of the Monk tie-in novels, had success using Dragon Naturally Speaking software when he had two broken arms.

Anonymous said...

I have to tell you, I always wish there were more hours in a day for me to write. I can only write so fast and I have so many projects. I know exactly how you feel!

Scott D. Parker said...

Gerald - Thanks. I'm going to search the web, see if Lee wrote about his time w/Dragon. I have Dictate (Mac) and the regular PC version and, surprisingly, the Dictate one works better for me. What I really need to do is train myself to write using that tool, at least so that I can bang out a short story via dictation while still actually typing something else.

Peter - Ain't that the truth. A couple of years ago, my mom asked what I'd like for Christmas. I said one more hour per day.