Hey folks! I know it’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these but I wanted to talk to you about a trick I’ve found especially helpful.
When I first started creating episodes for The Witch-Doctor, I noticed that a bulk of my editing was done in the process of recording the scripts.
(Granted, they needed a little bit more loving care and hence the rewrite.)
Sentences and paragraphs that seemed perfectly acceptable during the writing process were awkward or just plain terrible when spoken out loud.
“How could I have missed this?” I’d ask myself, and make a quick edit.
“There are things that the ear sees that the eyes can’t hear.”
Lots of things I’d missed while writing and re-reading were glaringly obvious when read aloud, and while I noticed this fact I didn’t think much of it other than simply making a correction and moving on with the recording.
(Time limits and weekly scheduled releases have a way of rushing you.)
After I put the podcast on a temporary hiatus, I decided to “level up” my skill sets, and purchased a bunch of books and audio courses on fiction and non-fiction writing, editing, etc.
One such book was “The Artful Edit” by Susan Bell, and I was pleasantly surprised to find a section in Chapter One -called “Gaining Perspective”- dedicated to the act of reading your own work out loud.
The point Bell made was that an author who is going to function as self-editor needs to have distance between their work and themselves. That one such was to do so is to read your text to yourself or others, and that doing so would help you catch problems.
Well, suffice to say I believed her because I had been doing exactly that without meaning to, just due to the nature of the project I was working on, namely serial fiction podcasting.
Bradford Morrow, novelist and editor, is quoted to have said, “There are things that the ear sees that the eyes can’t hear.”
So my advice is that if you are having trouble with editing your own work, and seem to be continuously missing errors or places where improvement could occur, to remember that errors are inevitable.
Don’t sweat it. People can edit their own books for years and still miss things as simple as typos.
Try reading out loud to yourself, or maybe even a friend or family member.
You’re certain to find facets (good or ill) in your writing that you had previously missed.
One thought on “The Fiction Writer’s Toolkit #2 (Reading Aloud)”
This is a great tip! I will definitely be using this.
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