I have a few tools in my kit that I'd like to share. I love these things! The one for today is ReadPlease. It reads my manuscript to me! There's no better way, other than this one eagle-eyed woman I know, to catch all your little typos and mistakes. I let ReadPlease read my stuff while I have the document open on the computer. When I hear it saying something like "He gave her all of his the potatoes," I alt-tab over to ReadPlease, pause it, fix my boo-boo in Word, then go back and let it start again.
I downloaded it free and now's a cute little icon on my desktop. Looks like a green-shaded desk lamp. When I click on it, a little box pops up. On the right are places to adjust the speed, font, and choose which voice you want. The free version comes with four voices, two men and two women. (They don't seem to like it, but it's fun to click on their faces.) At the top, the Tools tab will let you set all sorts of things I've never bothered with, such as pauses between paragraphs, and custom pronunciations. There's even a setting for Low Vision colors under Vision Impaired.
All you do to get started, once you've downloaded it (I'll give you the site at the end of this), is paste your text into the window. You can paste any type of text, from anywhere. At least I haven't encountered any limitations on this. There are instructions in the window, but after you read them you can delete them. They'll be there next time you open it. You can paste about 3000 words at a time. Don't worry if you've tried to do too many; it'll just cut off when it's full.
After you paste your text, click Play and open up your document, either on paper or on your screen, whichever works better for you.
The free download is available at http://www.readplease.com/. A digital version is available for $49.95, but I'm not sure what I'd do with that. Tweak it, maybe? There are other interesting things on the site if you want to poke around.
The free version, 2003, works fine for me. Let me know if you try this and like it.
PS. I'll share another one next week.
PPS. Better not try this if you're in the middle of doing NaNoWriMo.