Mar 25, 2011

Out Loud

Reading out loud is my absolute favorite best ever editing tool.
On the planet.

When I'm stuck? I read out loud.
When I'm not sure how a scene works? I read out loud.
When I finally reach the end? (sort of, only not really, because getting to the end, really just means the editing is about to begin) I read out loud to my husband.

Anyways, I finished and am polishing a YA in a boy POV. Mike asked if HE could read it to ME. HIM, my book, TO ME. That's not how we do it. I read it him. Much better.

It took me two or three chapters to settle into Mike's voice, but I got there. You know what happened? I was able to simply relax and enjoy my own story. It was awesome. Like it was suddenly, really, truly something to be shared.

I stopped him in a few places to make a comment to go back and check on a scene, or asked him to change a word here or there, but mostly, I just enjoyed.

So, try it. See if it works. Next time I'm discouraged, I'm going to make him read the first few chapters, just so I can remember the STORY...

Want to share an editing tip?
Or just tell me how reading your MS out loud helps you?


  1. Hmmm having someone else read your story out loud now that's a really good idea.

  2. Great post. I love to read out loud and see where the rough spots are. My writer's group actually reads out loud at every meeting from our work. That's how we share and it is great to hear the dialogue. Easy to tell what is working and what isn't.

    I came by the blog today because Marsha follows our blog and I wanted to let her know about a contest we just launched today. Check out for the "Pitch it to us" contest.

    I'm so glad I found your blog!! It's great. Thanks for the reminder to help me work through when I get stuck.

  3. Great idea! I know reading out loud myself is very helpful, but now that I think about it, I do catch a lot of other issues when I hear someone with a different perspective read it. Thanks!

  4. When I first started writing, I wrote plays, and then as I worked with actors I became aware of how some phrases didn't roll trippingly off the tongue. A little on-the-spot revising did wonders for the understandability. Now when I sit at the keyboard to write I read aloud all the way through. Hearing the words helps me discover where the dialogue needs to be smoothed out. In places where hard consonant sounds end a word, another hard consonant sound should not begin the next word. For example, "bent down" is not as easy on the ear as "lean over." That kind of simplifying helps a lot if your novel is ever made into an audio book, and it gives your dialog a fell of authenticity. It's a small thing but there is a musical rhythm to the language that should be observed and respected.

  5. I read a highly-acclaimed middle grade book a month ago and loved it so much I decided to read it to my kids. It was that time through, when I was reading out loud, that I caught all sort of errors that I hadn't seen earlier. Definitely something to remember!

  6. Good idea. I hadn't thought of having someone else read it to me.


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