Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Writing tip of the day

A popular nugget of writing advice suggests that you read your story out loud after finishing it. Hearing it being read helps to identity repetition, awkward phrasing and misspelled words that might be skimmed over while reading quietly.
While I agree that this is a good practice, I sometimes find it difficult to listen to the flow of the piece when I am reading it out loud. I get caught up on how to read it and often get no value of whether it reads well or not.
To help overcome this I have found recording reading it aloud and playing it back a big help. I like to listen to it with my eyes closed, as if it were written by someone else. I find this a great help in identifying pace problems, plot inconsistencies, stilted language and also if the story holds up or not. I find it helpful to listen to it again and again, when sometimes repeat readings can make the words meaningless before my eyes.
Have you ever tried recording your story and listening back to it? Did you find it helped?

6 comments:

Shadowthorne said...

... I never read my works aloud (let alone recording it) because most of them are short stories.

And weirdly, I don't like to hear my own recorded voice. Maybe because I can detect the hint of evil myself. :)

G. Coppard said...

Nobody likes their own voice recorded... or most anyway. That's normal.

But Inky is soooo right on the reading aloud concept. Short stories, long stories, novels, anything. It's amazing what comes out when sentences are verbalized.

By the way, I was in radio for 12 years. Folks who know me would probably tell you I have a pretty good voice. I've read encyclopedias worth of text, over the air, to thousands of people... and I hate my voice recorded.

Try it Shadow. You'll be amazed.

Shadowthorne said...

I love listening to my own voice, but not recorded.

Yes yes yes. I know why our voice sounds different than spoken. It's all about the angle of our mouth and ears (physics teacher, remember).

Still I have to pass on recording. I annoy myself listening to my own recorded voice(?).

ying-ko-4 said...

I will read poetry out loud when I have doubts. Never prose.

And even after being in radio for several years, I really don't like listening to my own voice.

Still, it's an intriguing idea. Probably one what won't work for everybody, but would be of help for some.

DNOTY2009 said...

I have read my book aloud and found it very useful for picking up repeated words and clumsy sentences. You still can miss some stuff though - I must try recording (though those machines always distort my mellifluous dulcet tones into a nauseating whine! *Sigh*)

The Grandpa said...

Good language has a rhythm and a flow and it's hard to tell if it works well in a piece if that piece isn't read out loud. But I have to tell you I once prepared a lecture for a class I was teaching that night and for some reason had enough time to record it and listen to it. It was my intention to "fix" what didn't work. Instead, I fell asleep while listening. Needless to say, I scrapped that lecture and and just went in and talked.