Read Aloud!

I expressed my disgust with the first chapter of my manuscript the other day. My solution was to toss the entire chapter and re-write. After spending a couple of hours writing a new chapter I made a point to read it aloud. I couldn’t believe the mistakes and clunky words I found when I did this.

Sure enough, look at this article from ‘So you wanna be published’, which I found the day after my discovery.

TWC: Little Editing Secret: Read Your Work Aloud

10 thoughts on “Read Aloud!

  • I’ll read it in a minute — you okay? I can’t decide whether to worry about the Berkeley riots or the tsunami for you.

    • Tsunami? I think I’m okay…? Wait, I just got up and haven’t see the news yet. Let my coffee finish brewing before I answer that.

      • Okay, I have coffee in hand and I’ve seen the news. We are under a tsunami warning but not under any evacuation. It’s ‘wait and see’ at this point. We certainly won’t be making any trips to the beach this weekend.

        As for the Berkeley riots *eye roll* that just pisses me off. They protest budgets cuts but then do damage that will inevitably cost money to fix and clean up. Really? What’s the point? The killer is, the protesters that did the damage don’t attend, work for, or have anything to do with the university. They were just people that wanted in on the fun. For the most part the UC protesters are usually pretty peaceful–if not, just a$$holes. (excuse my language) Fortunately the riots didn’t affect my department at all.

  • I discovered that secret awhile back and so benefited from it that I’m now going one step further. I’m recording each chapter of my novel, then editing as I listen to the playback. Often the problems are in the “beats”. I blogged about that.

    • Recording is a good idea. I hadn’t thought of that. I sometimes dictate scenes in the car to my digital recorder and it’s often the best scenes I’ve written.

  • Good points. I have generally found that when I’ve read some of my scholarly/academic writing out loud, I’m able to hear massive examples of unnecessary verbosity and really clean the whole thing up.

    But talk about a turn-off for anyone in hearing range! Even the dog and cat flee…

  • Reading aloud is definitely a great way to edit.

  • I’ve wanted to record my novel as I read it out loud as Linda has done. I think that will be the next step.

    I’ve read it out loud to my husband and hit the areas that off rhythmically with a yellow highlighter, but I haven’t made it any further than that so far.

    I think recording it will be a lot of fun. I just wish I didn’t sound like Minnie on tape. Geesh, there is nothing more horrifying than thinking about listening to hours of my own voice after it has been recorded. Yikes.

    I was out of town this weekend and didn’t hear about the quakes, riots, or tsunami until we got back in late last night. I’m glad everything turned out okay for everyone involved. How lucky for Chili that the death toll was no worse than it was. Although I still consider it high, even if the news say’s they are fortunate.

  • I am glad you discovered this tool! I have been doing this for a long time with my work (since I was writing there). Reading it aloud can often unearth clunky parts are areas that are difficult to read. If it doesn’t roll off your tongue, it probably won’t roll off the reader’s brain, either!

    I love the idea of recording it. I might try that when I am totally done with editing.

  • It is definately a must for childrens books too, I have learned in my class.

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