Reading Your Work Aloud
November 27, 2016
I highly recommend investing the time to read your work aloud before you send it to your editor for the copy edit (your editor will thank you). What are the benefits?
- The slower pace that reading aloud forces enables you to catch content mistakes you might otherwise miss (for example, referring to “twenty-first century office buildings” in a flashback to 1999).
- It’s easier to catch awkward repetition of a word or other authorial tics by hearing the material than by reading it silently. (My Achilles’ heel? Having my characters sigh too much.)
- Reading it out loud allows you to make adjustments for clarity–for example, judicious addition of commas to signal pauses, or a few extra “he said’s” and “she said’s” in long stretches of dialogue.
- You can use the read-through as an opportunity to capture and write out phonetically any tricky words for the audiobook narration.
- You can get a sense of whether you might be a candidate for recording your own audiobook! (The answer for me turned out to be “no”—I’m a decent out-loud reader, but these days, audiobook listeners want more dramatization than that, as evidenced by the fact that audiobook credits now reference not “narrated by,” but rather “performed by.”)
- If you record some of the passages that you think you might want to use for readings, you can use the recording to become extra-familiar with them, so that when the time for the reading comes, you will be extra-comfortable with the material.