One of the self-editing tips I learned about a while ago (that I use on the odd occasion) is reading out loud. If you’re like me, you probably don’t like the sound of your own voice. If you’re also like me, you probably don’t want to read your writing out loud… or can’t do it without blushing and/or giggling.
Go on. Admit it.
Anyway… putting that aside…
One of the better self-editing techniques is to read your work aloud. You don’t have to ham it up or anything like that. You don’t even have to read it aloud where someone can hear you.
I’m sure there’s a scientific way of saying this or some study or other but to put it simply — reading aloud requires a different part of the brain. It flips off the writer and turns on the reader. You’re better able to catch your mistakes when you read the passage aloud. Not just mouth the words or read over it. Physically open your mouth and speak the words written on the screen.
Does it sound right?
Are your chose of words stiff or cumbersome? Does your narrative sound like a story or a dissertation?
Does it sound natural?
This question is especially important for conversations between characters.
Did you miss a word?
I’m guilty of this more often than a little bit. Bless my editors. They don’t jump all over me when they find a sentence missing a word. I’m sure a few of you reading my blog posts have spotted sentences that make no sense because I’m missing words. My fingers don’t type as fast as my brain thinks.
Even when I read and re-read before putting up a post, I still won’t catch it. It’s only when I read the passage aloud that I catch those sentences that are missing words. The same goes for my books as well.
Another reason to read aloud is to help you write. Sometimes hearing something aloud helps you fill in the blank and move on to the next part. There is a reason a lot of writers talk to themselves… though we aren’t really talking to ourselves. We’re talking to our characters. It’s not our fault you can’t see them too. 😛