No one reads aloud nowadays, and sometimes it feels slow and uncomfortable. However, reading your book aloud, even if just to yourself, is a quick and easy way to reveal mistakes and necessary changes to your book that you wouldn’t have noticed before. Here’s why.
Pacing and rhythm
When writing, you’re imagining the words at what feels like your natural speaking pace and rhythm, but a lot of the time your brain is filling in the blanks, and what you read as natural another might have trouble with.
Reading your book aloud will force you to read the book as someone else would, as you’ve actually written it, making your rhythm and pace more pronounced. It should reveal any issues you have, highlighting any words, phrases, or sentences that don’t work. You’ll know them when you read them because they’ll be difficult to go through, you might stumble over them, and it may feel slightly awkward.
Once your rhythm is revealed by speaking aloud, you’ll probably find a much better alternative.
When reading, you’ll find yourself jumping ahead in sentences or even whole paragraphs. Your brain is scanning as you read and letting you skip things that don’t actually matter to the story, allowing you to get to the good bits quicker.
As you read aloud, you’ll pick up on more of these unnecessary words and sentences, and will be able to edit them on the fly, either by changing phrases to be more concise or by deleting sections altogether.
Reading to other people
Now you’ve had the opportunity to read your book aloud to yourself, it will be even more beneficial to read it to an audience.
You’ll be naturally self-conscious about how you sound and will pick yourself up on more things that could be changed to help with the flow of the story. You may even get to the point where you’re noticing things in advance and changing them on the fly.
You will also become aware of passages that might be embarrassing. Phrases and sentences that make sense or are appropriate in your head but that you’re not sure your audience would appreciate. They might be good in every other way, pacing, structurally, plot, but they’re not quite right.
It could be a repetitive phrase, lazily written dialogue, or something downright silly. Reading to an audience will make you become aware of it when you might not have noticed it otherwise.
Reading aloud, both to yourself and an audience, is a quick and easy fix for any issues you might have in your book. You’ll probably find yourself frequently stopping to rewrite parts before starting again and testing your new edits.
Let us know what you think about self-editing techniques below, and be sure to sign up to our newsletter which includes tips and tricks, and special offers for our services, including ready-made book covers and designs, eBook formatting, and promotional tools.