Reading out loud

Joe’s Post #132

kathleen's-lit-salon-2015

As Silk posted in her blog, she got a chance to read her novel out loud. Well, the first 10 pages, anyway.

Pretty terrifying, but it also got me thinking. (Originally written as … “it also got me to thinking”.)

I remember someone said you should always read your work out loud. It might have been one of the gurus at a writing conference or maybe the McDonald’s drive-thru guy who loves my Mustang, but someone said it… and you know what? It’s good advice.

The reason is that there’s a flow to language that’s hard to get when you’re reading it in your head. Even harder when you’re reading your own work in your head while drinking a glass of wine and listening to “If I Had A Rocket Launcher” in the background.

eyeI have, therefore, officially become a fan of reading your own writing out loud. Man, can you ever tell when something doesn’t work. It’s like a misplayed note. Or a fork in the eye.

We can catch a missed word, a wrong tone or slip of voice, or an awkward sentence.

All sorts of things.

It’s like having a copy editor right inside your throat. (See, that sounded totally way better in my head.)

It can also help you spot when something’s dead boring. Or identify when your POV shifts. Or hear when dialogue sounds like something that’s written instead of spoken.

It’s really remarkable. It’s like your brain works a whole different way when you’re speaking and listening.

blue and blackHey, I can’t explain it, since I barely understand why my brain thinks that dress is blue and black. (It’s blue, right? Blue?) But try speaking your own words out loud and you’ll see what I mean.

I know I will.

In the meantime, something fun.

It’s Gilbert Gottfried reading 50 Shade of Grey, and that means, NSFW. Seriously, seriously, seriously NSFW!!!

You have been warned.

Best show last week – Not the Walking Dead. Not Better Ask Saul. Nope. I binge-watched House of Cards. OMG, brilliant. Has anyone else seen the show? It’s an amazing example of having us root for a horrible human being because he’s opposed by even more horrible people and/or events.

Book that I’m reading at the moment – Almost done. Brent Weeks. The Way of Shadows. Again, a book I’d recommend.

Pages written on new book  Got 10 new pages written, but Paula’s right, we’ve lost our mojo.

Social media update – 1 blog every 2 days on my step-dad site about my experience as a chaperone on a grade 7 camping trip.  My readership and loyal fans continue to grow. However, I think I’ve lost the “I love camping” crowd.

Health  Well, now I have an ear infection. Sigh. I even went to the clinic and waited for 3 hours to get some meds. I hope to be better soon.

Best thing last week  I got a chance to marathon House of Cards.

Worst thing  House of Cards ended with a cliff hanger! You bastards!!!!!!

3 thoughts on “Reading out loud

  1. You are so right about reading out loud!

    BTW, the pages I read at the salon were about 50% dialogue (which may be too much for an opening, but hey, it’s a first draft). Yes, I broke up the dialogue with some narrative. (Wasn’t that somebody’s rule? I have so many rules in my head now that, like you, I can’t remember where they came from … or whether I made them up myself).

    Anyway, here comes my point: reading dialogue out loud can be hellish, even good dialogue. It requires not only a facility for writing, but also some acting talent. You feel like you need to distinguish the voices from each other, which is tricky, and if you throw an accent – or more than one gender, or more than two people – into the mix, you’re really in trouble. So … reading will not only improve your writing, it’ll probably make you profoundly grateful you didn’t try to pursue an acting career. (PS – it’s also nearly impossible to read dialogue “flat” like narrative.)

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