– Transcription as Writer Training –

After a few days in T.O. I’m back to work – in a manner of speaking. The job market for the particular Management specialization that I’m pursuing begins in earnest later this summer, so I’m scrambling (again, in a manner of speaking) to complete my data collection and analysis, and to put the final touches on my job market paper.

Which explains how I find myself mired in that most loathsome, tiring, frustrating activity possible for the PhD student: transcription of interviews.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I had a clean audio file to work with. Last week I had a pristine Skype recording on my hands, and my progress was almost effortless. This week, in contrast, I’m struggling through a two-hour long .wav file from a busy restaurant, with a respondent whose strong accent and soft voice would make it tough going even in the best of circumstances.

 

So naturally, dear reader, I’m trying to make lemonade out of the sour, sour lemons in front of me. And it occurs to me that as much of a chore this kind of transcribing work can be, it might be somewhat useful for a writer.

There’s something about the act of paying attention to the cadence of conversation, the pauses and space-fillers, the inflections of voice, and the interaction between interviewer and interviewee, that I’m convinced could be of value in writing more realistic dialogue between characters in a work of fiction.

Snappy repartee? Eat your heart out, Aaron Sorkin

Of course, this might just be wishful thinking.

In any case, back to the grind. Oh, how I wish I were writing …

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