Tuesday, July 31, 2012

eight . . . reading out loud

Read a great bit of advice a few years ago: read your novel out loud.

You find out a lot about your writing when you do this.  Reading it aloud, like I did today with Chapter 3 of my novel, showcases the bits that work and the bits that really suck.  You'd be surprised what a difference a verbal version of your book makes. 

Sure, people don't read novels out loud often (putting aside audio books for now), so why would this help in the rewrite process?  I don't know.  It just does.  It's probably to do with being an objective reader, something that is difficult to do when you have laboured over every word and paragraph of your novel for months or years.  Reading it aloud means the words and the story comes at you from a different direction, allowing you to assess it objectively.

Really helps with dialogue too - very quickly will you notice how dialogue isn't working, either for that character, in the back to back banter of a conversation or just in general terms.  And that's good.  Rather you pick it up now then a reader picks it up later, when its too late.

So that's what I am doing with the fifth draft of my novel: cutting it back and reading it aloud.

Hardest part is finding the time and place to do it.  If there's someone else in the house, it just feels weird.  I get all self conscious and end up not actually listening to what I am saying.  So, you have to be alone - that way you can sing it loud and proud, you can add special effects or crazy accents, you can do whatever you want.

Just don't forget to listen.

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