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Monday, March 21, 2016

Did You Hear It?

Anyone who has written a book knows how hard it is. Sometimes we agonize over the simplest words, be it the best adjective, verb, noun or best preposition. We want every word to carry as much bang for its buck as we can manage within the space we have to tell our story. If all goes well... Voila! We have a book, a story we're ready to set out into the world, a tale we hope many, many people will fall in love with as much as we loved (hopefully) writing it.

I just have one question for you. Did you hear it? Did you read it out loud to yourself and make sure everything sounded like you want it to?

(Here's an old shot from one of the first books I narrated before the world turned digital. Back then the book was printed - double spaced - on paper. Now it scrolls on an iPad with no need to stop so the narrator can turn the page. It's a huge time saver. Although it does cut down on the chance for a break!)

Not everyone reads their books aloud before being released into the world, but I'll admit I'm a huge advocator of the process. Not only am I better able to find typos, but it gives me a chance to hear my characters out loud. And sometimes - yes, I'll be honest - sometimes they sound really ridiculous. Be it melodramatic or annoying or bitchy or childish... reading aloud helps me find the spots that need refining.

Truthfully, I never read my books aloud before I heard my first book on audible. But after narrating my first book, Danger Zone (the second book in the Adrenaline Highs series), it was something I vowed to do with every book. I learned a ton. It helped me curb run-on sentences, sticky alliteration and character faults to name a few.

Just remember, it doesn't matter if your book is going to be an audio book or not (although it's an awesome thing of course), what matters is giving our readers the best possible story/characters we can with every book.

Okay, time to come clean. Who reads their books aloud before releasing them into the wild? And if you don't... I'd love to know why.


Rita said...

I probably don't read the whole book but a good portion of it. I definitely read any scene I'm having a problem with and the emotional ones. Great post. I love audio books.

jean harrington said...

Rita, beat me to it. I also read parts aloud, particularly dialogue and those passages that, in my mind, sound lyrical--always a dangerous bit of writing to spring on the world unrefined. All that said, reading aloud is a good technique. I remember reading that Virginia Wolfe read all of her works aloud--usually while sitting in the bathtub. Or so the story goes.

Dee J. said...

Hi Rita,
Thanks! Glad you liked it! I find I listen to audio books much more right before I go into the studio to narrate. The kicker for me is STILL finding typos after I've read a book aloud. That is seriously frustrating. Thanks for dropping in!

Dee J. said...

Hi Jean,
I don't think I knew that about Virginia Wolfe. Ha! I've got the picture in my head. LOL. Yes, I think reading aloud is especially useful for dialogue and making sure our characters sound natural. Thanks for stopping by!

Anne Marie Becker said...

Sometimes I'll read a snippet to myself to hear how it flows, but I admit I don't usually read a book aloud. Part of the reason is I cringe when I hear my own work read back to me (or hear my own voice, if it's recorded). The other part is the time factor. Great ideas, though! I may have to give it a try, especially when I'm stuck.

Dee J. said...

Hi Anne Marie,
I agree in that it takes extra time to read a book aloud, but for me, it's worth it because the book will always come out stronger for it. Give it a shot. Let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping in!

Marcelle Dubé said...

That's sound advice, Dee J. :-) I admit I never read my books out loud but I will try it with my next one.

Dee J. said...

Hi Marcelle,
Thanks! Let me know after you do it. I'm curious what you'll think about the process. Thanks for dropping by!

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