Reading My Manuscript Aloud

computer thing

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!

13 responses to “Reading My Manuscript Aloud

  1. There are a couple nearby parks I write at. If the weather’s nice I sit on a picnic table or bench (or big rock under the bridge, like a troll), and if it’s crappy I stay in my car. Either way, I can read aloud and talk to myself all I want without having people think I’m crazy.

    And congrats on all your requests for fulls!

  2. that’s so something i would do – talk into my sweater. we are truly devoted writers, are we not? i just recently did this for the first time, too, on a much smaller scale. i knew it was supposed to be a good idea but had balked at actually doing it because it would take a looong time to read an entire manuscript out loud. this small scale test worked so well that i know i must do it for longer projects going forward.

  3. I loved reading this! Another friend reads her manuscripts out loud, too. I read all my shorter stuff out loud, but have been daunted by 360 pages of out loudness. But after reading this post, you’ve hooked me. I’ll do it, too. Did you print it out or read from the screen?

    Glad things are going well.

  4. Pingback: Finding Errors in Our Writing… | Mandyevebarnett's Blog

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