Reading out loud for a final edit

This technique from this post in the Live to Write – Write to Live blog rings true. Read your work out loud. You’ll be amazed at what you find.

Live to Write - Write to Live

The kids are all back at school, Marc is out of town, and I have reserved this week to do a final edit of my manuscript.

“But how do you do that?” my son asked me last night at dinner.

Behold the new "Red Pen" Behold the new “Red Pen”

“Well,” I told him, “I start on page one and I begin to read the entire thing out loud.”

And then, I explained, I look for areas where there are continuity breaks. For example when I was working on a chapter yesterday I noticed that I had written about “taking Motrin *again*” and yet I hadn’t mentioned any previous times that we had taken it. Oops – I went back and added that first instance.

Gone are the days of using a red pen, now I read out loud from the screen to find words that have been dropped and spellings that made it through…

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4 thoughts on “Reading out loud for a final edit

  1. Reading one’s work aloud … that is my fop tip on editing. So many times when reading a poem I automatically “edit” it in my head. SO often poetry (especially poetry, but other writing as well,) is marred by the presence of too many words. For example, when reading my poems aloud I follow the metre and rhythym…even the punctuation,,,as it is intended. This technique will often (not always, but often) uncover awkward phraseology, wrong-word useage, and meaning. SOUND is the most important thing about good writing…Even silent-sound,—intoning the reading—works for me. When I read something out loud and it makes me say to myself— “WHAT!?” –it gives me a chance to improve the line and make it better.

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  2. The old red pen may have been better for editing than the computer mouse. Computers can really mess things up: deleting necessary words and adding extra ones, What writer has not been undermined by his or her own machine for various mechanical corrections?

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