Friday, June 1, 2012

Does Your Writing Go With The Flow?

We work with a written medium, and unless our words are put into an audio book, they most likely won’t be read out loud. Yet I think every writer NEEDS to hear their work aloud- even if it is just them reading it aloud to themselves.

Many times our thoughts look fine on the page; we don’t notice little oddities that we may add to our writing like tics in speech, writers can have writing tics that they repeat. And if they are noticeable enough, they could disrupt the reader.

Another issue, besides tics, and over-used phrases (that we don’t even see any more ;)) is the actual sound of the words. We may or may not “hear” our words when we write or edit, but a repeating pattern will be noticeable to a reader. Even when we DO hear our words in our head, we may read/hear what we think is there and not what is really there. Words or sentences that sound too similar can confuse or annoy the reader. Also, repeated speech patterns may not be noticeable at the speed we write, but they are often VERY noticeable at the speed at which most readers read.

If we read our work out loud, or even better, have another person read it out loud for us (or a computer program- is free. A bit stilted, but still handy- I’m sure there are others) then we can catch those odd patterns, over-used, invisible words and phrases, and repeated sentences. We’ll hear where we’ve not varied the sentence length for a while, where something comes out either too short and choppy, or too long and convoluted. I know as a reader, if the speech patterns keep repeating, I will and have given up books simply because that’s ALL I begin to notice.

What about you? Do you read your work out loud? Have someone read it to you? Ever stop reading a book due to the “sound”?

Thanks for coming by!


  1. You are right, I should read my work-in-progress out loud. It is amazing how things 'sound' when you do it. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for coming by Nancy and hope the reading helps :). I know I hear all sorts of things when I read my work....many not so good ;).

  2. I just tested that software, and getting the speed right is key. If you don't it can be quite a hilarious result! :) Interesting idea though.