The Importance of Reading Aloud

Fermentation is done. I’ve set aside Wasteland and am back to work on On The Sly.

As a writer, I read my work probably a couple dozen times. And I make changes nearly every time too. And my editor says my manuscripts are always the cleanest she’s ever seen. Yet, she always finds things to correct.

You know why? Because our eyes see what our brain tells them to see. Rose colored glasses, only story stained glasses. No matter how many times I read to myself, I don’t catch things that I should. So, I read aloud. Not to myself. You don’t hear the mistakes as well as if you read aloud to another writer.

Photo by Gabby K on

You know the feeling when someone in your profession visits you at work. Suddenly you’re more conscious of the mess, of the weird way you work, of the way you talk, of what isn’t right. We see through that other person’s eyes.

We writers need to hear through other writers’ ears.

This is why writing critique groups are so important. Reading to someone who doesn’t know what’s right or wrong doesn’t help us. We don’t catch what we should. But reading to another writer? You bet. Even someone who is less advanced than you helps you see your problem areas.

Of course, you ideally want a mix of writing levels in your group so you can get solid advice, but in the area of just hearing the weak spots in the story, writers of any skill level work.

And it’s not enough to just give them the manuscript and let them read it silently to themselves, you have to read aloud TO THEM. Fool your body into seeing and hearing like it’s something you’ve never read before.

Not just once. But a couple times. And definitely on your final copy.

Now go. Trap some poor writer in a closet. Lean against the door and read. Don’t forget to return the favor. Writing is not a solo sport.

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