Out Loud

When I write I hear the words in my head.  Not just the dialogue but the narration too.  And I see the pictures, the locations, people, their clothes and so on.  I assume everybody does.  Working in radio I’ve noticed that there are sometimes differences between how I ‘hear’ what I’ve written and how an actor delivers it, and that always surprises me.  But I imagine as readers we each translate the marks on the page in our own way, with our own voices supplying that soundtrack as we follow the story.

For my novels I’m using speech recognition these days, reading aloud what I’ve written in longhand (I know – bizarre) through a microphone and into a Word document.  It’s a complete pain when the phone rings or there’s someone at the door or I get a sneezing fit but on the whole it’s quicker than me just typing it all up.  And staves off the RSI.  But I don’t really get to hear the flow of the writing in that part of the process, I’m reading it in quite a clipped and unemotional way in order to get the best accuracy.  Even then there are many errors (I’ll have to save some up for another post).  Once I’ve corrected the mistakes I read my work aloud.  Not only does it help me improve the rhythm and see how the pace changes but it’s great for spotting repetition and abrupt endings and weak sections.  Through pressure of work I don’t always get time to read everything out loud and then when the book is published and I perform a reading in public I notice all sorts of things I’d want to change if I only had the chance.