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Revision Tip – read text aloud

Here is a quick (and fun) tip to use during revisions of a manuscript.

As I’m revising, I often stumble over passages in a WIP, knowing something isn’t quite right with it but having no idea why.

Reading it out loud can help, but I don’t really like the sound of my own voice. I’ve discovered a way to convert text to speech (TTS) with the Speak command (aka Read Aloud) in Microsoft Word. Now that I’ve added Speak to my toolbar, I can highlight the pesky passage, close my eyes, and let a dude read it aloud in a slightly stilted (but surprisingly fluent) voice. While I listen to “Microsoft David” read the text, it can sometimes help me tune in to where the problem lies.

Speak/Read-Aloud is a useful feature, but Word makes it weirdly difficult to turn on. Use the instructions at this link!

I also suggest wearing headphones or warning your housemates. The first time my husband heard MS-David reading to me, it freaked him out a little.

Have you tried Speak/Read-Aloud or other TTS tools? Have Mac users tried VoiceOver? Does it handle fluency well?

Breathing Is Necessary

Recently I recalled the discussion my chapter mates had years ago concerning our need to write. At that time, none of us could imagine not ever writing. We rose early before our families and wrote. We wrote every spare moment we had throughout the day. We spent time away from non-writer friends and family and […]

It’s the Week One Check-In for the 2019 Winter Writing Festival!!

The Ninth Annual Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival is fabulously under way, with the Ruby Sisters and dozens of their always-talented friends writing their hearts out! Yesterday we completed our FIRST FULL WEEK, so today it’s time to officially check in! If you’re reading this on the Festival website (the blue site), jump on […]

A Brief History of the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood!

We’ve got lots of new folks joining the Winter Writing Festival this year, some of whom may have been wondering exactly who the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood are. So here’s some quick history: The Rubies are a true sisterhood, but not by birth. We came together on March 25, 2009, when we were all named Finalists […]

YESSS!!!! It’s Opening Ceremony time for the 2019 Winter Writing Festival!!

**Found out about the Winter Writing Festival after January 10? JUMP ON IN, ANYWAY!! Award yourself as many points as you need to get caught up, and get started!! We’ll see you in the sprints!!!** Once again, here come some of our favorite words of the year: We now declare the NINTH ANNUAL Ruby Slippered […]

Goal-Setting Advice for the 2019 Winter Writing Festival!

The Festival starts THIS THURSDAY!!!!  I hope you’re as excited as I am, and ready for some BIG PRODUCTIVITY through what could otherwise be the dreariest part of winter.  To help you get ready, I’m re-posting a blog from previous years about how to get ready and set workable goals: ****************************** One of my favorite […]

Announcing the 2019 Winter Writing Festival!!

The holidays are over, but we bet you could use a special gift for your writer self! The Rubies have one for you: THE NINTH ANNUAL RUBY SLIPPERED SISTERHOOD WINTER WRITING FESTIVAL STARTS THURSDAY JANUARY 10, 2019!!! If you’ve joined us for the Winter Writing Festival any time during the past eight years, you know […]

New Year, New Dream

Happy New Year! Do you have things you want to accomplish in 2019?  Reading goals?  Writing goals?  Life goals? I love a new year – the chance to restart a challenge to ourselves that we may have fallen short of completing in the past, the opportunity to renew our dedication, reassess and see where we […]

Getting the Happy Back

I’ve observed something over the past year. Very few authors seem to be happy with their careers. That unhappiness manifests itself in different ways when the subject of writing careers come up. Sighs. Rolled eyes. Or out and out discussion of their frustrations.

Happy Holidays!

The Rubies are taking a short break to celebrate the season with our families, but we’ll be back in the New Year with new content and our annual Winter Writing Festival!  It starts the second week of January and runs through February to get those writing wheels turning again after the holidays – so get […]

My Second Favorite Word

Like many writers, I love words, and when I started pursuing publication yes quickly became my favorite word.  Yes, I like your pages. Yes, you are a Golden Heart Finalist.  Yes, I want to represent you.  Yes, I want to publish your book.  Yes, you are number one in the kindle store.  That yes feeling is a […]

Using Holidays to Help You Promote

Happy Holidays, everyone! As authors, we are always looking for ways to promote our work in a non-in-your-face type of way. Holidays are an easy way to help you gain some personal and professional exposure. Here are a few ideas for using holidays as your promotional theme. New Years goals setting post on a blog […]

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I was on a writer’s panel last week, with authors from a mix of genres. Children’s books. Memoirs. Poetry. Romance. One of the questions the moderator asked was: Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how do you get past it? After the votes were counted, we had three who believed and four who […]

Building A 17th Century Costume

Have you ever wondered exactly what it feels like to wear the huge ensembles of silk and embroidery that the ladies in the English court used to don in the 17th century? I think about it often, because I write about women wearing stays and layers of draped fabric in my books. At a reader […]

Laughing in the Face of Danger Pt. II

The Hows and Whys of Using Humor to Freshen your Prose, Strengthen your Story and Deepen your Characterization. Oh, and hook your reader! DRAMA APPEALS TO EMOTION, WHEREAS COMEDY APPEALS TO THE INTELLECT In LAUGHING IN THE FACE OF DANGER PT I, we talked about the key principles of comedy and how to incorporate them […]

Anniversaries – Powerful in Life, Powerful in Books

We all experience anniversaries, dates that come around every year. In fact, we are born with one! Our birthday. Anniversaries fall into two main categories: celebratory and remembrance. Celebratory anniversaries are easy to spot: birthdays, wedding anniversaries, adoption days, first kiss date, day your book releases… Remembrance anniversaries are trickier. We’ve all had days we […]

Thankful Beyond the Usual

Tomorrow’s the day. Many of us in the US have been rushing around gathering food, packing it away in every little inch of our over-worked refrigerators. Others of us have been filling suitcases and making travel arrangements, bravely venturing out on the road during the busiest travel-time of the year. We find ourselves frantic, exhausted, […]

The Ingredients of a Christmas Romance

Romances have often been accused of being formulaic, and Christmas romances?  Oh baby, those might be the most formulaic of all – but I still devour them every holiday season, both in book form and on the Hallmark Countdown to Christmas.  And I am certainly not the only one.  Those suckers are successful because they […]

Laughing in the Face of Danger Pt. I

KEY PRINCIPLES OF COMEDY “Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.” —Joss Whedon Comedy, like romance, is an art form that is oft maligned. And while most comedy has the advantage of added elements like facial expression, voice intonation, timing, and body language, […]

MY SPACE DIED

If you read my blog last week, you know I began to dissect my life, trying to learn what is crushing my muse and acting on the beasts. One of the things was my writing space.  With the pool closed and the last tomato is picked and the weather is turning frosty, my writing spaces […]

What Outlander Taught Me About Writing.

If you are not acquainted with the Outlander books and Starz series here’s a quick rundown. The first of Diana Gabaldon 8 books was published in 1992. The TV series first aired in 2014 and is now in the 4th season.  It’s about a woman, the Sassy Sassenach, who sets her clocks back too far […]

POV for Beginners, Part 2

Yesterday we began our discussion of POV with a look into Third Person (Limited & Omniscient) and Second Person.  Today I’d like to delve into the one that has been giving me fits as I attempt to master it – First Person.  I recommend you catch yesterday’s blog, but as a quick refresher, point of […]

Point-Of-View for Beginners, Part 1

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about point of view (or POV as you will often see it abbreviated).  I was recently asked to write a book in a point of view that is not my usual (first person rather than third) and it has been a challenge, but also made me hyper conscious of […]

“We the People”

Today, Nov. 6, is Election Day in America. I came up short trying to find an original and heartfelt way to urge my fellow American citizens to vote. Instead, I’d like to recommend watching this informative and non-partisan feature, which aired on last week’s CBS Sunday Morning (8:06, YouTube).  Teachers, historians, and Supreme Court justices […]

The Four-Letter Word I Fear

The Four-Letter Word I Fear For the past several months I’ve been in a slump. Now understand, I’ve been in slumps before and always found a way to work my way out of it, but this nose-dive in my creativity felt different. Was different. I found myself redirecting my energy to anything but sitting down […]

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