Writers often talk about how reading your work out loud can really help during the editing phase. I know I’ve mentioned it in the past myself. I found that early on this helped me most when trying to ensure my dialogue sounded “real” and “natural” rather than mimicking my prose.
As I’ve become more experienced, I’ve read my work out loud less and less. In part, I feel that I’m a much better writer than I was several years ago so the necessity isn’t quite as great in my mind. However, the biggest reason why I’ve gotten away from doing this is because the process isn’t always easy to implement.
I can’t exactly read my work out loud in an airport (which is where I am typing this blog post), can I? I mean, I guess I could. But considering what I write, I’m sure I would get a lot of strange looks (and maybe a call from security as I describe a mace smashing someone’s skull). Well, maybe I might not get as many looks as the guy yelling into his phone about his hot new co-worker. He seems to be pretty oblivious to the people around him shaking their heads in disgust at him.
Anyway, I do most of my writing/editing at home in the early mornings. I can probably read out loud then in a low voice without any issues. However, I also try to write/edit on lunch breaks and any other spare chance again. So, if I decide I’m only going to read the WIP out loud during one editing pass, the process could take a lot longer if my window for doing so is smaller.
Now, here’s the bright side. I’ve been traveling this week for work and had the “luxury” to be in a hotel the last few nights. I took advantage of the opportunity and decided to make a pass through my current WIP by reading it out loud.
I wanted to read it out loud for several reasons.
1. Because it actually worked out where I could.
2. Since this will be the first book in a new series (hoping to release it in October or so after the next two Andrasta and Rondel books), I want to make sure it is as good as possible before sending off to beta readers.
3. It is in 1st person, which is something I’ve only done in short story form before. I really want the change in style to work.
I’ve found that, as before, the process to be really beneficial whether tweaking a word or two, adding a sarcastic comment, or smoothing over a scene transition. The WIP has improved.
I think I may have to start making time to do these sorts of passes in the future.