I’ve been done with my first manuscript for a while, but recently went through some serious revisions after feedback from an editor. I had some recent full requests, and I needed to get it sent in! So, for my last step, I followed advice I’d been hearing, and read my manuscript out loud.
First of all, let me say it took a LONG TIME. I seriously underestimated the amount of time it would take. I thought a few hours one afternoon would do it. When I’d only gotten through 40 pages in 2 hours, I realized that audio books have lots of CDs for a reason. It took me a week or so, given that I only have snatches of time here and there.
I had a problem, though. I almost never write at home. Too many distractions, especially child related. So I did a lot of the reading at Starbucks, inside a turtleneck, or with my back to everyone, or near someone with headphones on. I’m sure people wondered if I was totally crazy.
Here’s the most amazing thing. I’d thought my book was, finally, as good as I could possibly make it. But I made SO many changes when I read it to myself, almost all of it word choice. If I substituted a different word when I read aloud, I reread and usually changed it. I had changes on every page. I also had fun with the dialogue; since I know my characters so well, it was cool to act out their voices.
I also noticed a few tiny plot holes as I went, mostly sequential problems. I’d moved around a few chapters, but I still had a few inconsistencies.
I’m sure I’ll read my current WIP out loud, perhaps earlier this time, to get the dialogue as natural as possible.
Guess the experts know what they’re doing!