Guess who’s still editing her novel?
The struggle to properly edit one’s novel gets harder and harder as the months drag on. But I think I’ve found a solution: reading my novel out loud.
Yeah, it’s a little weird. And my mom will probably hear me talking to myself from the basement and think I’m crazy, but she already does, so I’ve got nothing to lose.
And here’s six reasons why you should read your novel out loud, too.
It helps you find typos.
When you’re in the middle of an edit that just seems to drag on and on, it’s easy to miss a couple small typos. Reading it out loud makes you more aware of your words and less likely to skip those unfortunate misspellings.
It boosts your pacing.
It’s easy to forget about varying sentence lengths and punctuation use when you’re on your first draft. But when you’re reading it out loud, you’re much more aware of these things. Rule of thumb: take a breath at the end of every sentence. If you’re winded by the time the sentence is over, consider breaking it up or adding a pause for breath. If too many short sentences leave you hyperventilating, think about combining some of them or expanding on them.
It helps you understand your writing style better.
We’ve all got those little stylistic quirks when we write, both in punctuation and word choice. For instance, I tend to use the word “just” too much, and in my current novel, “quickly” became one of my crutch words. When you read the text out loud, you become more aware of repeated words or common phrases and can better account for them.
You get a better sense of your character’s voice.
Every character has something unique to them, whether that be dropped letters or certain words. When you read their dialogue out loud, you can get a better feel for their speech patterns and quirks. Would they pause here? Gesture wildly there? It’s all up to you.
It gives you a different perspective.
One of the biggest problems in revising a novel is being able to look at it with fresh eyes. After the second or third draft, you become familiar enough with the text that it’s hard to edit it well. Reading it out loud gives you a fresh perspective on your story and can circumvent this problem.
It helps smooth out your story.
Reading your manuscript out loud makes sure that everything flows properly. It gets rid of all those awkward wordings and helps to smooth out the story for that final polish.
Do you read your manuscripts out loud?