Spent most of the constructive part of the day working on episode 81, which is part of volume 3 of Time Crystal. I had previously drafted out the opening actions within the scene so I had something to work on. For example I was very clear how Alex Karolyi would react to a certain situation, and I thought I knew how Jean-Pierre would react too, but in fact the latter surprised me in what he refused to do. It was a small example of a character taking over the plot.
Having reached the point in the episode where Alex and Sophie leave the Cafeteria I then wanted to plot out the main events during the rest of the episode or at least the main immediate events. Again this was an example of me not liking to wander around unsure of where the plot is going. I like to have guidelines and signposts along the way. So I started to use PowerPoint as a plotting tool, as I have explained in a previous post. I also used a spreadsheet which I maintain in order to keep the four strands of the story synchronised.
While updating this spreadsheet I realised that I did not know which crystals were present in the cafeteria. One of the tasks which the police have to perform is to obtain four linked crystals so that they can communicate with each other as they descend the Time Tunnel. In order to find out which crystals were owned by which characters, I used a different spreadsheet which keeps a tally of exactly this information, and I added the crystals (correctly labelled) to the PowerPoint diagram. That was about as much as I achieved on Time Crystal itself today but it gives me a good basis for continuing the work tomorrow.
Taming the Dragon
My other achievement of today was to install Dragon Naturally Speaking and perform some experiments to discover how accurate it would be. I have to say I am shocked and delighted to discover the quality of the speech recognition which this software delivers!
One of the pieces of advice which the Dragon offers is “Think of your whole sentence”. This can be a problem for me. When I start speaking, I think I always know how the sentence is going to begin (how else could I speak?), but often I have no idea how it is going to end, or at least, I am not aware of knowing how it will end. However thinking about it, I realise that probably somewhere at the back of my mind I do know where most sentences are going; I’m just not aware of it.
I guess the way to fulfil the Dragon’s instruction is to be brave, to throw your fate to the wind, to trust your own subconscious to produce something which is both coherent and meaningful. Perhaps it is because I am a control freak that I am nervous about letting my mind wander aloud, like an unguided missile, subject to the winds of fate.
Having just used Dragon to write my diary for today, I have to say that I am increasingly impressed. It allows me to concentrate on the substance of what I am saying rather than having to devote a significant part of my brain to entering the text into a keyboard and correcting the errors which my fingers inevitably make. I believe that the quality of what I have written using Dragon this evening is at least as good if not better than I would have written by typing. I am already convinced this is money well spent. And, in addition, I have returned to the podcast known as “the Art and Science of Time Crystal” (created in 2009) and used Dragon to transcribe the first episode. Again the quality of recognition is good, although, because the podcast lacks any spoken punctuation, I am going to have to do a significant amount of work in order to make it publishable as a written text.