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23 February 2016 ·

Apps and Editing

I never thought I’d blog about an app, but the proofs for Dragonfly Song arrived last week –the idea of a break has now been postponed – so I’ve been proofreading and polishing. This stage and its oh-my-god-it’s-the-last-chance-to-change-anything panic usually involves my version of an optometrist’s test: ‘which is better, a or b?’ and reading several variations of a sentence to any family or friends who don’t get out of the way fast enough.

Of course by then I’ve already looked at many more variations of that sentence on the screen, probably on paper too, but sometimes the fine tuning has to be done by ear, and sometimes it’s not enough to simply read it aloud to myself.

I use Garage Band when I want to record and play back the whole book on the very final draft, but I find it clumsy if I just want to repeat one sentence or paragraph a few times in the middle of a silent reading/edit.

So now I’m using the app MP3 Audio Recorder. It just sits on my desktop and records and plays back instantly. It wants a file name each time – but it’s happy with a 1 or an X  and then it’s just one click to start the recording. I drag each file to the trash as soon as I’ve made my decision, but if I want to keep one they go onto iTunes when played. I think it cost me $5.  My husband would have happily funded it to much more than that.

I’m about to start reading the whole thing aloud again now, and might experiment with how long a reading I can do with this app. Who knows, I might even have caught all the repetitions and clumsinesses in all the previous readings, and this one can go straight through! You have to dream.

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Wendy Orr is a Canadian-born Australian writer. Her books for children and adults have been published in 27 countries and won awards around the world. Nim’s Island and Nim at Sea have also become feature films, starring Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin (Nim’s Island) and Bindi Irwin (Return to Nim’s Island.) Her latest book is Cuckoo’s Flight, a companion to the highly acclaimed Bronze Age novels Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. Read full bio