I had often heard the advice of reading your writing out loud to truly hear the rhythms. I totally understood this for picture books and dialog for screenplays, but I’ve never felt the need in anything else I’ve written (unless I was trying to focus in the middle of lots of noise). But revising my novel, I decided to try it, mostly because I write so early in the morning and I often feel half asleep.
But reading my writing out loud has become an invaluable tool in my editing. I find that I catch grammatical errors I glossed over before, duplicate uses of words that I hadn’t noticed and sentences that run on with unnecessary words.
Reading out loud isn’t the first step in my editing. It’s my last, and for me, that works the best. As I go through each chapter now, I have a plan: First, I go through each sentence and paragraph doing my usual edits, changing anything I see that could be better. Sometimes I go through the chapter a couple times until I’m happy with it. This is all my head.
Then I go through the chapter again but this time reading it out loud. I’m always amazed at the things I missed the first few go arounds. Mouthing out the words seems to make my brain focus more on the words, and I can more easily pick up sections that don’t read well. I’ve even found spelling errors while reading aloud that I missed when reading in my head.
Have you tried editing out loud?
What’s your favorite way to edit?
P.S. Don’t forget to add to the Community Story. Mand gave a great addition in the comments of Monday’s post. It will be added to the main story next Monday. But you can still continue from where Mand left off by leaving it in the comments here.