Here’s a little tip I got from the writing conference last week. Reading your novel out loud helps you find errors.
I’ve heard this one before (like a million times), but I never did it. I didn’t need to read my novels out loud. I thought it was a waste of air. Plus, I read pretty fast in my head. Speaking the words takes so long.
But that’s sort of the point. Yes, most people can zip through page after page in their head, but an interesting thing happens when we do. Silent reading means the words go straight from our eyes to our brain. And our brain does some handy little subconscious editing.
For example, when reading silently, we automatically understand words that are missing lettrs. Or our brains will adjust if words up end backwards. We even add words that have been out. While these samples are silly, in works you are familiar with (such as your novel) you will end up doing at least one of these things.
Reading out loud, that’s different. Now it must go from your eyes to your brain and to your mouth. If what you are seeing and what you are saying doesn’t match up, you will catch yourself.
Also, in reading out loud, you will catch little rhymes and alliterations that you didn’t mean to say. These unintended phrases can be a mouthful (or a brainful) and your epic fantasy novel will end up sounding like Dr. Seuss.
On a side note, now that I’ve started reading my novel out loud, my cat is completely convinced I’ve lost my mind. He meows and tilts his head as if to ask, “Why are you talking?” And of course, he automatically assumes I’m talking to him. Poor kitty. What am I trying to say to him? Why am I talking and not giving him love or food (which is pretty much the same thing in his eyes)?
Do you read your novel out loud? Does your cat think you are crazy?