I’ve just been reading a novel out loud. It’s my latest one, and this is the penultimate check. The last read through will be a good old copy edit. It’s amazing how many of those sorts of things I’m picking up. I’m finding detached full stops, “ifs” instead of “ofs”, and sometimes assigning the wrong person to a speech.
It really is to be recommended, reading your work out loud. I have also uncovered some more serious mistakes:
A fight scene was not at all long enough.
Someone said something out of character.
Several sentences were clunky.
Sometimes a bit of dialogue needed to be accompanied by some physical action.
Just occasionally a different word was noticed
Reading aloud is so effective because it slows you right down. You notice far more than when you read in your head. It’s also possible to read aloud silently. You just hear a voice, possibly your own voice, reading the words. This is useful if you’re on a train or somewhere else equally inconvenient.
Why the penultimate check? Well, it needs to be near the end as you’ve made so many changes by now that you may have lost some of the flow. And there is another important check to be done last of all.
Just two words of caution, though.
A few things are better written one way for reading aloud and another for reading silently. That’s another good reason to do a final read through afterwards. You can always put things back to the way they were then.
Reading a whole novel out loud can give you a sore throat!
It's amazing what reading a novel out loud can do for it - makes such a difference - but yes, unfortunately it can lead to a sore throat!
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