Today’s post is not dedicated to any specific writing technique, although the advice described in it can still significantly influence your writing in a good way. Editing, as one of crucial parts of writing, is also a sphere where you can use some tips for improvement—and today’s one is reading what you’ve written aloud.
If you ask me how does reading aloud affect the editing process, and how it contributes to improving your writing in general, my answer would be: “Directly!” When we write—be it fiction, or a biography, or an academic paper—we usually do it silently. In our heads, anything we write sounds more or less tolerable (even pretty nice!), so we don’t bother ourselves with wondering how it would sound like to an outsider.
And usually, the fact is it sounds decent at best. Of course, there are writers who can make their writing sound great right away, but I am not one of them, and I guess you aren’t as well. If I am right, your writing possibly sounds unnatural, dialogues suck, and everything seems to be quite far away from what you see in bookstores.
After you go through your writing and edit everything you find necessary to change, I’d recommend you to read everything aloud. You don’t need to make your friends go through all this—it’s enough that you can hear how your writing sounds. In real life, we can often say that if a person speaks in an unnatural manner, he or she is pretending or acts falsely. So, apply this talent to your writing! Hearing how it sounds like will help you find the parts that sound not the way they should, even though you’ve edited them several times. When you read everything aloud, you will automatically understand what must be corrected and how.
For this purpose, it is better to have a printed copy of your writing; this is because you can insert remarks and comments and keep the original text at the same time.
When you read aloud, try to stick with your natural intonations; when you read through dialogues, try to imitate intonations as if you were a direct participant of the conversation. Try to feel the emotions that should stand behind written words—this way it will be easier for you to determine whether your writing sounds natural or not.
This should help you improve your writing at the stage of “post-production.” Enjoy!
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