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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Importance of Reading Aloud

Recently, I was polishing up some manuscripts--giving them the final go over before they go off into other hands.  I have to be honest here.  It's always a little hard for me to silently read a story over and over and over again.  My brain thinks it is already perfect and therefore tends to skim. Skimming leads to missed errors!

I hate sending off something that is less than it could be.

So, in order to slow my brain down, I read the manuscript aloud to myself.  When my mouth has to form the words, I automatically go slower and my eyes can sift through the words more carefully.  Another added benefit of reading aloud is that I get a much better sense of the flow of the book.  The flow of the story, the sentences, the individual words all become more apparent when you are HEARING them, as opposed to just seeing them.

There is one particular book that I ended up reading aloud ten times before I sent it.

Ten times.

And it was not  a picture book, folks.  It was a novel.

Had I not read it aloud, I am certain I would have missed some pretty major mistakes (oops!!!) as well as not caught certain places where my word choice caused me to stumble.  (Much like the sentence I just wrote!)

Anyway, my writing advice for the day is: Read it aloud. Whatever it is, read it aloud.

What are your last minute polishing tricks?



Julie Dao said...

I read my books aloud to myself, too! I used to have Bean instead of Microsoft Office, and there was a setting where you could have a voice read the manuscript aloud to you. It was very computerized and monotone, but still helped me pick out errors!

Anonymous said...

Having someone else read aloud to you can also help. It gives you a chance to just listen to the words and how they flow. You can do the same thing by reading into a tape recorder and then playing it back.