How to be a dictator, and other lies.

I’ve been dictating my novels lately.

And I thought I’d post about it, because one, I have been getting a lot of word count questions, and two, I am about to give you wild, amazing advice for word counts.

Because I arrogantly think I’m brilliant.

And, also, because, I had some questions this week.


Dictation is like running the mile in gym class. You may cough up blood, but it’s good for your health. Supposedly.


Here is how I got faster it dictation, and got better at it.


1.I dictated before I wrote every day. It sucked and I hated it.  I often switched back to typing after a half hour of attempted dictation.


2. I think you’d be an idiot not to dictate with punctuation, whoever recommends that has marbles for brains. Use all your punctuation. You’ll get used to it, but only if you practice. This is like running the mile, it sucks. Get over it.


3. The first problem I encountered with dictation, was that for the first time I could write faster than I could think. I’m a very fast typist, so I was hitting an easy 2500 to 3000 words per hour typed. With dictation, I would run out of thoughts before I had got to them. There were lots of awkward lulls and pauses. In order to combat that I had to outline, which sucked balls. First my outlines were too specific – and then I just completely gave up on working with them because there was no natural flow to my story. But then, sometimes my outlines were not specific enough – my entire scene was the sentence. “Play night game.” I didn’t know what the game was, or why they were playing it, or the plot. But being less specific actually made me much faster, and when I hit the scene that’s not specific enough I just pause take two seconds to adjust, and plan then dictate.


4. They say when you’re top violinist you play hard,  but at such a painful rate that after you practice you often need to nap. I find this to be true with dictation. When I have hit good word counts I often need a nap. If you haven’t worked so hard that you need a nap, you’re probably not working very hard. That’s just the truth.


5. I often dictate with voices, and crazy amounts of enthusiasm. I try to make sure I’m caffeinated, sometimes do jumping jacks first. Get excited – you need to get into the flow state just as you would with writing. Once I stopped micromanaging my dictation, I got way more words on the page. I can dictate seventeen hundred words in ten minutes. And this is only after a month or so of practicing seriously. Say at least three paragraphs at a time before you look it over – if you are looking at your words more often than that, then you’re not dictating you are just waiting and staring at words. You’re not even telling a story – could you imagine if someone was listening to you? They’d be bored to tears. So you must write at least three paragraphs at a time. If any of the dictation is particularly wrong, select the entire sentence and just say it again. It will not only improve your dictation next time – because Dragon is smart and it will learn that it heard you wrong the first time – but it’s also faster than trying to edit one or two words at the time. You want to just select the entire sentence, and restate. Do not do this more than once every three or four paragraphs. I tend to do it at the end of the chapter.


6. When you use lots of voices Dragon have a harder time keeping up. But I do it anyways, because when I go back and edit I can easily fix any transcription errors – but it helps me stay in the story. And staying in the story is 90% of the battle. You should be telling your story like you had children listening, children who are really interested in punctuation, and the story. This is how I’ve improved, and I highly recommend that you keep practicing, work till you’re tired, be enthusiastic, and don’t edit as you go edit at the end.


7.  I hope this was interesting or helpful.


8.  I feel like lists must stop at ten.


9.  See 8.


10.  Yeah, I am pretty amazing, thanks for noticing.

Come along kids, into the fire.

The Firelocked Funhouse has been so fun to work on so far.  These kids just tried to bury a clown alive.

It’s not gonna work.

Plus, the little one carries around a bear!


Anyways, I’ve been doing excellent, I’ve been being excellent.

10’s dress won at state fair, which means, she’s got to go to the next competition, I wish I had showed her to sew less good. (I can’t decide if I even feel bad.  More competitions are vomitous terrible things I have no patience for- but 10 is amazing and deserves to win everything this world has to offer.)


Next week I will have all my children away and I’ll be working ten times harder than ever, and playing ten times harder than ever.  Ballroom dancing?  Oh yes, it’s gonna happen.  I’ve already shined my shoes.  The umbrella gun will be finished and I am going to have the most amazing costume for Suicide Squad.

This is the grand finale, the big finish of summer before life gets back into a steady and safe routine.  Back to school, back to words.  The only sliver still digging away at me is the cats still quarantined.  Only one more month.  Please rally pretty kitties.  I can’t wait to have them home.

I also have all remodeling on hold at the moment whilst I get some books out the door.  After I get back into the swing of routine I’ll add ’tiling and painting’ back to my schedule along with “hanging drywall’ and flooring!  The attic is desperately ready to be floored.  I am impatient.  I am ready for my house to start housing and stop constructing.  I”m ready for my books to start flying off the shelves, and my days to be less stressful.  Let’s skip through my forest and laugh through the nights.

Somebody hold my hat

The roof is done.  I’m exhausted from all this ridiculous nonsense.

  1.  Roofing a house is not fun
  2. Staying in a hotel is not fun after say, week two
  3. I have spent 100+ hours on bats, roofs, rabies, and insurance this summer so far
  4. I would have preferred to spend that time remodeling, writing, or playing with the world’s best kids
  5. My Harley Quinn umbrella gun is almost finished and I’m excited.
  6. Suicide Squad is coming out very soon.  Try not to wet yourself.
  7. Firelocked Funhouse is coming out, not as soon.  But I’m trying!
  8. I’m working on a thriller book, and it is super fun.  Sometimes the books write themselves
  9. I’m pretty sure I’m not actually that good at cosplay, but I sure try.
  10. I am going to have to paint some shoes.The roofers allowed water into my house, and I have some painting to finish now.

I think that’s listy enough for today. I’m working on an excellent poll for anyone who joined my mailing list, I am absolutely certain it will be fun.

The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire.

Well, progress has been steady but slow.  I’m already quite tired of hotel life.  I’m not really sure where else I’d be happy though.  Home, obviously, but I can’t exactly stay there with the bats, and the construction or anything else.

Still keeping my writing up to normal at least!


Work makes the world go round.


Here it is, the update.

The bats.

Well, poor ten has been a total spitfire this whole time.  Do you remember that I told you she woke in the middle of the night and killed a bat, then crawled back in bed like it was nothing?

She’s a fierce little lady.

Don’t mess with her.

But since she has an autoimmune condition, her rabies shots did not take.  As in, she’ll have to redo them.  And there have been many tears.

The roof is about to be peeled off my house just like Oliver’s skin was peeled from him.  And underneath it the bats will swarm.  Have you ever seen thousands of angry bats?  I hope not.  I’m sure I’ll post a picture as soon as it’s time.  As soon as it happens.

Thousands of uprooted, homeless, terrified bats breaking into my house.  They’ll swarm the screens, and try to break in windows, and crawl in the pieced of the roof.  They’ll scream their displeasure at me.  Then, slowly, they’ll give up and start to flutter away.

But some won’t take no for an answer.

And they’ll loiter in my trees, battering at my windows, my doors, my home.  They’ll break in like little bat burglars.


I’ve declared war on thousands of bats.  Put on your helmet, grab your binoculars and hope you don’t get hit by the fallout.

Gridlocked Guesthouse Finished

Well, I’ve finished another book, you may applaud whenever you aren’t busy.

This one has that crazy narrator I’ve been talking about. She’s my favorite part of this story so far.  I think that I have done an excellent job making four totally different, perfectly delicious  haunted house stories.

Do you like a deep back story? Ghosts from the past tormenting the current owners?  Maybe give Landlocked Lighthouse a try.

Do you prefer hilarious humor mixed with dark story?  Definitely read Gridlocked Guesthouse.  She’s absolutely bananas, and you’re gonna hold your sides with wide eyes horrified laughter.

Are you more into finding out what more than one person would do when confronted with a ghost?  Try Padlocked Penthouse.  It’s so classic.  Each guest tries to defeat the ghost in their own awful way.


Anyways, I’m knee deep in Firelocked Funhouse, and then that’ll be it for the hauntings for a bit.


I’m pretty certain I’ll be writing a dark thriller next.  Do you like dark thrillers?


Clearly I should get out more

Alright, so the good news is, they’re going to get the bats out, and they are going to give us a new roof in the next few weeks.


The bad news is, this is extremely costly and I feel a little discouraged.


The good news is:  When the going gets rough, I can rally like no other!  Gridlocked Guesthouse is coming out this week, and I’m knee deep into Firelocked Funhouse.

I’ll try and have this one done really quick too!  My troubles will just mean more stories 🙂