Editing with Natural Reader

Natural Reader is a tool I recently heard about from Heart Breathings and it’s revolutionized my editing process.
How it works:
You paste your text into a box and an AI reads it out.
natural reader
“But I can just read it out loud myself, or have my critique partners do it!”
Wrong. Human brains love to read what should be there, rather than what is there. It’s why stuff like this exists:
Puzzle-brain-teaser
Unlike a human, the computer it reads everything just as it is. It makes for a very impartial read.
Stuff you’ll catch:
  • double words
  • missing words
  • stupid typos like bisque instead of brisk 🤦‍♀️
  • REDUNDANCIES (You know that stuff your critique partners told you to cut, but you just don’t want to let go of? That shit. You can now hear how repetitive it sounds.)
  • FLOW
  • identical sounds
  • multiple uses of the same word
It’s also really nice to hear your work out loud. Editing is rough. I’m on my first novel, so I’ve definitely had a lot of bad days where I doubt myself and wonder if I can make it work, so it’s very validating to hear my story out loud and have it sound good.
How much does it cost?
Free: Two voice options, plus 20 min/day of premium voices
Premium: $10/month or $60/year. Access to all premium voices.
Not gonna lie, the free voices suck and there’s only two of them. They don’t inflect well and sound very robotic. You do get 20 minutes a day to access premium voices, which are exponentially better and come in a variety of flavors.
The website defaults to premium voices, then reverts to the free voices after twenty minutes. It can be quite jarring to go from premium voices to free, so keep that in mind if you don’t plan to pay. I paid just to get access to Peter back and to see how often I’d use the program. Now that I can see how often I’m using it I’ll probably do the annual option.
After editing each chapter I run it through Natural Reader, make my fixes, then download an MP3. This gives me another option for beta readers, as they can listen to my book on the go. Please note that you can’t use the MP3s for commercial use unless you pay for their Commercial plan, which costs a lot more than Premium.
Hiccups:
  • Some of the voices will trip over certain words, but you can tell them how to pronounce the words differently, though this may be a premium-only feature.
  • Voices act slightly different for things like em dashes. My preferred voice, Peter, is terrible at them, so I have to switch to commas for the reader.
  • If you past a much longer block of text, sometimes it will paste weird and you’ll get a block of words where the spaces between have been removed. likethisrighthere

Despite the hiccups, I can’t recommend Natural Reader enough.

Copyright © 2019 Val Neil. All rights reserved.

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