Nancy Robards Thompson
Nancy Robards Thompson


giveaway, Jaunty Post, Nancy Robards Thompson, technology



I just finished two back-to-back deadlines. Normally, when I finish one book my body hurts after a marathon at the keyboard. This time, technology saved me. I’ve been using the voice recognition software Dragon Naturally Speaking. It’s made me more productive and, for the first time since I began writing, my hands, forearms and neck don’t ache.

However, as with all technology, it isn’t without its quirks. One of Dragon’s best features is that over time — and with “training” — the program begins to understand your voice and particular turns of speech.  Dragon and I aren’t quite there yet. While it greatly enhanced my output and saved me physically, it had a tendency to misunderstand me. I had to carefully review each sentence to make sure it heard me right. I’ve become very conscious of enunciating and speaking slowly. Still, sometimes (especially when I was tired) the misinterpretations were pretty funny. Finally, I started keeping a list. Here are some of the more entertaining mistakes:

What I said: What are you doing?  What Dragon heard: Whatcha doin’?

What I said: mustering    What Dragon heard: must stream

What I said: Good morning     What Dragon heard: Good Mormon

What I said: Tatiana Island   What Dragon heard: talk to you on an island

What I said: ladies and gentlemen What Dragon heard: 80s and gentlemen

What I said: call it a night What Dragon heard: culinary right

What I said: Don’t you think? What Dragon heard: Dutch you think?

What I said: Kids have a natural BS meter

What Dragon heard:  Kids have been asked me to her

What I said: Why don’t you have a seat over there?

What Dragon heard:  Win a java seat over there?

What I said: his craving for her  What Dragon heard: his creeping her

What I said: heck of a time   What Dragon heard: heckuva time

My personal favorite:

What I said: Kinsley’s gasp was audible, surprising even herself.  

What Dragon heard:  Kinsley’s gas was audible, surprising even herself.

 Incidentally, it spelled “Justin Bieber” correct on first try. I just had to see what it would do with the word Bieber. Dragon is obviously fluent in pop culture.

 Now that the books are finished, I will keep training because the benefits are well worth the adjustment time. How about you? Have you encountered any challenges with technology lately? Was it worth taking the time to figure it out or did it frustrate you to the point that you threw in the towel? I will give away a free copy of one of my backlist books to someone who comments. 

30 thoughts on “How to Train Your Dragon

  1. Rhonda Jones says:

    Very good and very funny. Just imagine if Kinsley’gas was audible, suprising even her made the final cut of your book. Do you have to put the punctuation in or does Dragon do ut for you

    1. Nancy Robards Thompson Nancy Robards Thompson says:

      Rhonda, I know! I shudder every time I think about it. I read and re-read the
      manuscripts before I turned them in. Still I was afraid something had slipped
      by. So I forewarned my editors that I was using the software and if they saw
      anything strange I would do my best to decipher it for them. Yes, you do have
      to put in the punctuation. So, I would say something like this: open quote how
      are you question mark close quote she asked period. It should look like:
      “How are you?” she asked. It does tend to recognize when words should
      be capitalized. Believe it or not, the extra words (open quote, question mark, close
      quote, etc.) don’t bother me.

  2. marypreston says:

    This is just wonderful. I had a good laugh thank you.

    1. Nancy Robards Thompson Nancy Robards Thompson says:

      Thank you, Mary! 🙂

  3. Anita H. says:

    haha those are funny! Technology is just great entertainment!

    1. Nancy Robards Thompson Nancy Robards Thompson says:

      Isn’t it, Anita? I’m determined to not let it get the best if me — even if I have to laugh at myself in the process.

  4. Ada H says:

    I say “talk to you on the island” all the time!! haha Gotta love technology, can’t live without ’em but they sure bring on the fun! I hate listening to myself though when I get recorded even if it’s just my voice mail.

    1. Nancy Robards Thompson Nancy Robards Thompson says:

      Ada, I’m the same way. My recorded voice never sounds the way I hear myself. 🙂

  5. Mary Anne Landers says:

    ˙ʎɐqǝ ɯoɹɟ pɹɐoqʎǝʞ ɐ ʎnq ı ǝɯıʇ ʇsɐl ǝɥʇ sı sıɥʇ

    1. Lorelei's Lit Lair says:

      Lol! How did you do that?!

      1. Mary Anne Landers says:

        I didn’t. I copied and pasted it from someone else. If I were to describe all the troubles I’ve had with technology, it would be a comment the length of “War and Peace”!

        1. Nancy Robards Thompson Nancy Robards Thompson says:

          Mary Anne! You made me smile! I find that technology and I get along much better when I wear my glasses and attempt to read the directions…and don’t try to fix or learn new programs when I’m on deadline.

  6. Lorelei's Lit Lair says:

    Lol! Your favorite,too funny! I think Dragon is an interesting tool. I used to work with special ed students and kids who can’t write would thrive with Dragon. I’d also recommended this to certain authors to see if I’d help them publish more books in a year! So glad you are using it 😉 My mishaps with technology would be with certain apps on my phone.

    1. Nancy Robards Thompson Nancy Robards Thompson says:

      Lorelei, <3! Dragon would be
      perfect for special needs kids. I hear you about the phone apps. Even the
      new operating system on my phone is giving me fits. I've had to look up some
      functions they've changed with the system. Functions that used to be easy to
      use and almost intuitive. I guess it keeps us young, right? ")

  7. Hilarious, Nancy! I remember being impressed that Siri correctly heard and spelled Daniel Day Lewis. I wonder how far down the B-list of celebrities these voice-recognition packages can take you. 😉

    1. Nancy Robards Thompson Nancy Robards Thompson says:

      Kathleen, that would be a fun experiment. 🙂

      1. Lorelei's Lit Lair says:

        My daughter just got a new iPhone 5 and is constantly asking Siri questions, she’s super excited about it and using it all the time. Now when I text her I write something like this: “Siri, will Mandy be home for dinner?” Then she replies, Lol! yes… 😉

  8. Mia Marlowe Mia Marlowe says:

    Very funny, Nancy. I have a Dragon, too and it does increase my word count quite a bit.But I find it changes my voice so much, I have a lot more rewrites to do after the words are on the page. I tend to do better letting the story flow out my fingers instead of my throat. However, in a pinch when I need to push the story out, my Dragon does help me advance things more rapidly.

    1. Nancy Robards Thompson Nancy Robards Thompson says:

      Finding what works for us is a constant experiment, isn’t it Mia?

  9. Kathryn in Montreal says:

    I don’t have Dragon but have just recently discovered the voice recognition texting on my smart phone (this phone is waaayy smarter than I am!). My family always complained that I didn’t text with my glasses on and with the voice recognition things aren’t much better, but they are a lot funnier!

    1. Nancy Robards Thompson Nancy Robards Thompson says:

      Lol, Kathryn! Those smart phones are going to take over the world some day. 😉

  10. Shana Galen Shana Galen says:

    Some of those are pretty funny! I cannot get Siri to understand me at all. She understands my husband perfectly, of course.

    1. Vanessa Kelly Vanessa Kelly says:

      How typical, right?!

  11. Vanessa Kelly Vanessa Kelly says:

    Nancy, one would be tempted to use Dragon just for the bloopers alone. And as a terrible techno-peasant, I spend much time yelling at my computer and various electronic devices, sad to say!

    1. Nancy Robards Thompson Nancy Robards Thompson says:

      Vanessa, it does have its entertainment value!

  12. catslady says:

    I’m horrible with technology. I want to just know it lol. If someone can show me and it’s not too complicated I’m a lot happier than trying to figure things out. When something happens to my computer I get totally stressed. I have been able to figure out some problems but I really want everything to just run smoothly lol.

    1. Nancy Robards Thompson Nancy Robards Thompson says:

      Catslady, I was just talking to someone the other day about how much easier it is to have someone show you how to do something rather than trying to figure it out. I just got a new laptop and it had Windows 8… It’s been a challenge trying to learn it. But I will…I hope. 🙂

  13. Marcy Shuler says:

    How funny is your dragon! LOL

    1. Nancy Robards Thompson Nancy Robards Thompson says:

      Thank you, Marcy! 😀

  14. Michelle Fidler says:

    Ha, ha, I like the one about a java seat. That must be at Starbucks. I think I’ll have some coffee tonight. And I’ll take a java seat. I see the Dragon commercials on T.V. and they make it sound like it’s so wonderful. I know how to type and on a typing test I can type about 67 words per minute, so I would never need that software if I had a computer. The part about having to say “open quote” and inserting all the punctuation would be annoying.

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