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?


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Why We Do What We Do

It is so easy to forget.

It is so easy to get caught up in the daily struggle of work, life, everything, etc., etc., etc., that we don't remember the real reasons why we do the things we do.

Ten years ago, I got a letter in the mail from a child.  Aside from making me cry a little, it reminded me exactly why I do what I do, why I write stories for children.

I kept that letter with me in my writing book for a long time. Years, actually, until one day, I couldn't find it. I was heartbroken that I'd lost it, for it had become my talisman in dark writing times.  Because I had the strength of this one letter, I must be doing something right.  It had become my flashlight.  My lightsaber (and you know how I feel about those!!) And I had lost it.

And then a few days ago I was cleaning out a bookshelf and a white paper floated to the ground.

 And so you see, my book, GOOD NIGHT, GOOD KNIGHT was the first book little Wesley A. Orred read by himself.

And that is why I do what I do.