Silence is Not Golden When It Comes to Your Writing

Do you read your writing aloud during one of the editing stages? You should. Really, you should. This past week, I read aloud my novel-in-progress from beginning to end. This was after I’d completed three edit rounds. So, you’d think listening to my book would not be painful, right? (Cue maniacal laughter.)

Granted my three edits were not in depth and the third was definitely rushed because I had a “deadline”. My alpha reader is a very busy woman. I knew she would have a brief lull after she finished writing her fourth novel and I wanted to take advantage of that, so after the third edit I sent my WIP off to her knowing it wasn’t perfect, but thinking it was presentable.

Immediately after that, I started another edit by reading aloud. Holy clunkeroos! I don’t know how I manage to convolute sentences the way I do. I also don’t understand how I can silently read those same sentences several times and not see they’re pretzels.

Halfway through the fourth edit, I apologized to my alpha for sending the file too soon. Lucky for me, she hadn’t started reading yet, so I read, read, read from morning to night for two more days and finished in time to send her a cleaner draft. I’m sure she’ll still have plenty of changes to suggest, but at least she won’t have had to puzzle out many sentences.

Anyway, if you don’t already, try reading your work aloud. You’ll be surprised what you hear that you didn’t see.

24 thoughts on “Silence is Not Golden When It Comes to Your Writing

  1. Reading aloud turns my stories from dark explorations into a game of Honky-Tonk meadow bingo! Darn my southern accent! Imagine, if you can, Darla reads H.P. Lovecraft!

    Still, it’s great advice, Linda and something I should remember to do even when editing blog posts and comments! 😉 Anyway – I see your in good company now that summer is over and the blog-sphere is picking back up – So off I go. You know how nervous I get in crowds! 😀

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    1. Do not disappear on me again, K. 😉 Remember the good old days when everyone commented on everyone’s blog? Long gone, it seems.

      Ha ha, you should have heard me narrate one of my hillbilly stories. Only, I couldn’t slow down, so it was like a hillbilly on speed. 😀

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      1. Seems like another lifetime doesn’t it? I missed those old days that you’re talking about and I still hang on to them where I can. But it hasn’t been easy to maintain. This is something I discussed at length when there was talk of my book possibly being published. A fairly simple plan was drawn up and a new pen name was created for the authorship credits. My electronic marketing will be handle in a non-blogging way – well by me anyway. The end result is I get to be me – here – all the time. Lucky you, huh? 😉 Anyway, I won’t be gone in the sense of “she’s missing and I wonder if she is still alive”, but my commentary will probably be a little more brief – at least for a short while.

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  2. I haven’t read all of my current novel-in-progress aloud, just the dialogue pieces. It’s a great help in recognizing verbal clunkers, even without a Southern accent. I generally have an audience when I read aloud – the dog and/or the cat, who both think every word I utter is gold. 🙂

    Having the Kindle read it aloud sounds like a great idea. (Maybe I should get a Kindle? I just use the Kindle app on my Macbook Air.)

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    1. I like to read every word, Natasha, but then I’m a bit OCD about these things. I actually read most of mine my barely above a whisper this time because my husband was in the next room. I don’t want him to read (or hear) my writing.

      As long as you don’t have any foreign names in your work, the Kindle voice might do all right. It butchers middle eastern names. 🙂 I wonder if the more expensive versions have a more realistic voice.

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  3. That’s what I like about my writing group. We read parts of our story out loud to each other. It is amazing what you discover when you readit out loud and what other people pick up.

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