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  1. #1
    A Writer

    Read Your Story Out Loud!

    Perhaps many of you do this already, but I wanted to pass this along because I'm finding it highly effective in my second round of revisions.

    I am reading my manuscript out loud to my husband. Because he processes stories better when he HEARS them, this really works for him.

    (Naturally I do all sorts of voices for my characters -- it's quite fun, really...)

    I might read a dialogue and he will say, "OK, stop. Read that again." Then point out something redundant or unclear.

    Or I might read a passage and he will ask me a "why" or "what" question.

    Or sometimes he'll just stop me and say, "That sounded really dorky."

    My point is that the story is coming alive for him as I read, and, being a very analytical person, he will "hear" things when they don't work or don't make enough sense.

    Obviously this has set us up for some head-butting (not that I'm a temperamental writer or anything), but it is a VERY valuable tool for me.

    It's going to be important that your listener LIKES to listen. I, for one, could never listen to someone read their manuscript, because I am a visual-spatial learner with a very short attention span for listening to people talk! So your audience has to be somebody aural.

    Anyway, I thought I'd pass that along. Problems seem to pop right to the surface when you read them out loud....and the end result is a much better manuscript!

  2. #2
    C Bets

    Re: Read Your Story Out Loud!

    Seems you can never have enough tools for improvement, and this one gets my vote. Good thinking! Now, I just have to get my husband to sit down long enough to listen - sigh

  3. #3
    John Doerper

    Re: Read Your Story Out Loud!

    That would drive my wife batty!

    You have a very understanding husband.

  4. #4
    writer bette

    Re: Read Your Story Out Loud!

    It's wonderful to have a husband who's so invested in helping you reach your goal.

    Not having one of those, I read into a tape recorder. Reading out loud reveals awkward phrasing, etc. Then listening to it helps with flow.

    However, you always have the story in your head so you can miss things that your forgot to include in the writing. Having somebody to listen helps.

    Of course, critique groups can perform that chore, albeit on a somewhat more limited basis since most limit you to five (or so) pages a meeting. But that beats having no listeners.

  5. #5
    Eric George

    Re: Read Your Story Out Loud!

    Contrary to popular belief, most husbands have learnt to do what they are told. I've heard that teenage daughters are also very good (and merciless) at listening. I have to make do with the cat, but even reading aloud to him allows me to pick up a lot of clumsy writing.

    I would say that reading aloud is the single most useful tool for polishing a text.

  6. #6
    Robert Raven

    Re: Read Your Story Out Loud!

    Not only should you read your work out loud, always, but you should act it, as well. Perform the physical movements (well . . . within reason) you have your characters doing, things like going up stairs or through a door or getting up from a chair, etc., while speaking or maybe doing other things. You'll be surprised how easy it is to describe on a page a physical act that is simply impossible to perform for anyone short of a shape-changing contortionist.


  7. #7
    chris clarke

    Re: Read Your Story Out Loud!

    I don't read my own stuff out loud, my husband reads it to me. Very helpful. I read along and circle the rough stuff.


  8. #8
    Nick Dobbie

    Re: Read Your Story Out Loud!

    I get Microsoft Sam to read it to me. He's the Text to Voice engine on XP Pro. The best part of doing this is that it sounds like you've managed to convince Stephen Hawkins to proof-read your MS for you.

  9. #9
    Debbi Voisey

    Re: Read Your Story Out Loud!

    Nick!!! LOL

    I was going to say I use a Text to Speech program too. It really is cool to here something "official" read your work, despite them being a robot! You can change the pitch and the sex to suit.

    I use that because I know how important it is to HEAR your writing, but I hate my speaking voice. My accent is quite flat and I can't put the right inflection where it should be. I can do it in my head, but not out loud. Does that sound silly? Anyway, even though the robot can hardly inflect where needed, and sometimes pronounces things wrong, just the fact that it's being read out loud is a great help.

    And yes, the Stephen Hawking thing is a great ego boost. :=)


  10. #10
    Keridhar AuburnDragon

    Re: Read Your Story Out Loud!

    Reading out loud? That's what I'm doing with my novel. Only thing is I have to read it late at night, when kids are in bed, because it contains sexual situations and strong language.

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