Just recently, a friend and fellow writer offered to read the opening chapters of my book aloud for me. I’m very excited and grateful, because I think this will be a huge help in highlighting any rough spots I need to polish. I’m going to print out a copy of the chapters in 14 point type so it will be easier to read. I’m also going to bring my tape recorder. During out session, I’m just going to listen; later, I’ll go back and replay my recording to identify any rough patches.
Reading aloud is so important that I’ve gathered some writing quotes about it to inspire and encourage you to consider it:
“The ear is the only true writer and the only true reader.”
“Always write (and read) with the ear, not the eye. You should hear every sentence you write as if it was being read aloud or spoken.”
C. S. Lewis
“Ever since I was first read to, then started reading to myself, there has ever been a line read that I didn’t ‘hear.’ As my eyes followed the sentence, a voice was saying it silently to me. It isn’t my mother’s voice, or the voice of any person I can identify, certainly not my own. It is human, but inward, and it is inwardly that I listen to it. It is to me the voice of the story or the poem itself . . . .”
“My own words, when I am at work on a story, I hear too as they go, in the same voice that I hear when I read in books. When I write and the sound of it comes back to my ears, then I act to make changes. I have always trusted this voice.”
“I still read everything aloud. I have a fundamental conviction that if a sentence cannot be read aloud with sincerity, conviction, and communicable emphasis, it’s not a good sentence. Good writing requires good rhythms and good words.”
“Every book should have its own voice — what you hear in your head as you
read to yourself.”
Mary Lee Settle
Once my “recording session” is over, I’ll share any findings and insights I gather from it. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot because I’ll be standing outside my work listening to it, rather than inside it. That sense of distance can be so helpful and revealing. Write on.