Friday, May 6, 2011

Do You Read Your Novel Out Loud?

One piece of advice I've read about revising suggests you read your writing out loud. It's supposed to give you more of a feel for how other people "hear" your writing when they read it.

When I write picture books and learn-to-read stories, I definitely read them aloud, because it helps me make sure the story flows and hear how the words sound. Besides, these kinds of stories usually are read aloud. But a novel? Maybe I'd read out small sections, but never the whole thing. Until now.

Here's what I've noticed:

1. Reading a whole novel aloud takes a really long time (especially when I keep stopping to fix things).

2. It's helping me view the story more through the "voice" of my character.

3. It makes it easy to identify and simplify unnecessary words and phrases.

Do you ever read your writing aloud? Do you find it useful?

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  1. I've let my computer and kindle read it aloud for me to help catch typos. And I try and read parts I'm not happy about loud. Everyone says it's worth it.

  2. I definitely read everything aloud. But I find sometimes it's still not the same as when I'm reading to someone. There's nothing like reading your story at a school visit to catch things you missed!

  3. I often read chapters aloud to my daughter. It's a great way to catch errors and to get immediately (and often persistent!) feedback about what's not working.

  4. I always start to, but geez, you were right with number takes a reeeeeaaally long time. I'm gonna give it a go with my latest WIP though--I'm trying to do this one right!

  5. Yes, and yes. A late friend of mine who wrote nonfiction always shut herself into her office and read every book out loud for as long as it took before sending it to her editor. It really does help you catch things.

  6. Yes. I usually read a chapter at a time. It helps with revision.

  7. I find it amazing how much I edit when I read aloud my work. I can read/reread/edit/start-over, but it is not the same as actually hearing the flow of words out loud. Sometimes I even have my husband read aloud so I can hear what the reader hears.

  8. It was definitely worth it! I ended up doing a lot of editing. I found many places where transitions were needed or little bit of description was missing. Reading aloud also helped me with my dialogue tags...where they were needed and where to put them. And I ended up cutting about 500 words that were unnecessary.

    I highly recommend reading your novel aloud!


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