Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Spritzy Spritz

Did you all see this? By now, you probably have, but in case you haven’t yet, check out this little article here. Go ahead, I’ll still be here when you get back.

http://elitedaily.com/news/technology/this-insane-new-app-will-allow-you-to-read-novels-in-under-90-minutes/

So, what did you think? At 250 words per minute, I did pretty well. I was aware of a dropped word here or there, but I was able to keep up. At 350 words, however, there were a lot of drop out. I was very aware that I was missing words, but I was still mostly able to follow along. At 500 words per minute? I haven’t got a clue. I felt like I was backwards reading. It was kind of like that sensation you get when you’re sitting on a train that’s moving forward, and there’s a train right next to yours that starts to move forward just a little bit faster–it’s a bit disorienting. And I still have no clue what I was reading.

Now, I’m sure if I worked with Spritz, I’d get the hang of it. I don’t know if I’d ever cruise along at 1,000 wpm, but I’m sure I could do reasonably well. Still, when I saw the headline on the article–“You Can Read a Novel in 90 Minutes”–I immediately asked myself, “Why would I want to?”

Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m playing the same old anti-technology song, revealing myself once again to be the cranky old guy scaring kids off the lawn. It would be great to crank through some things at 1,000 word per minute–and be able to remember it! This is technology-assisted speed reading, and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with it.

Yet reading novels is something that is done for pleasure. It’s a leisure activity. Are we really so pressed for time as a society that we have to compact everything we do into ever-decreasing packets of time? I can’t help wonder when someone is going to develop a ‘speed sleeper’ program that will allow us to get 8 full hours of shut-eye–REM included!–in half the time.

What do you think? What Spritz speed could you keep up with? What would you do with all that ‘extra time’ gained?

8 Responses

  1. I like to savour as I read – and my reading speed tends to match the tension in the book. My computer was a bit glitchy trying to read on the site, but I THINK I was doing pretty well with the 250 & 350, it kept stalling though so hard to tell 🙂 I did make me wonder if this highlight would help younger kids who are struggling with fluency

  2. Well I must be the stick you wave at the kids because I'm in complete agreement about reading for leisure. Speed reading isn't for me. Speed typing after I've written a story by hand, that I wouldn't mind. Oh and I purchased Winter's Regret on Smashwords over the weekend.

  3. I'd only speed read a novel if I had already read it and were looking for a particular section or piece of information that I hadn't bookmarked to revisit later.
    For technical manuals I use speed readers like http://www.spreeder.com to find interesting sections to slow-read, or to skim for a 10,000 ft view.

    So this has it's place I guess, I'm betting we'll see it used as a solution for very-small-screen devices like watches and Google Glass like clones.

  4. Thanks for the comments, all. I suspect most of us who populate writer/writing blogs will be more in the 'slow reading for fiction' camp. Hike, thanks for dropping in. I hadn't thought of things like watches and Glass, it's a pretty good application for things like that, I suppose, and if I give it a chance, I'm sure I could get decent at it.

  5. That is the dumbest thing I ever heard of. No one *forces* a person to read a novel unless it's for school, in which case they buy Cliff Notes. Do I sometimes skim a novel? Yes. But it's easy to slow down if I get lost (or it gets interesting). Normal people – and I used to be one so I know – read for pleasure and reading a novel in 90-minutes by *not* reading 50% of it is certainly no pleasure. Now … "Kids! Get the hell off my lawn!"

  6. -Carrie: Now that would be a trick!

    -Lexa: I *almost* broke out the Clint Eastwood meme for this one, but I think I've used him too much–I'm getting old!

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