Okay, so I've been on the writing scene for a few years now. About six, to be exact. I've attended a number of conferences. Been critiqued and edited until I want to gouge out my eyes and invest heavily in Rogaine. I've read countless blogs on craft, and books on improving pacing, tension, self-editing. The list goes on and on.
One thing I've heard -- and even advocated! -- is reading your book out loud.
But... confession time. I've never done it. I hate (like loathe with the passion of a thousand suns) reading my own work out loud. I refuse to do it at signings and events, because it just sounds so lame in my own voice.
I won't do it.
Thus, I've never read one of my manuscripts out loud.
Until this past revision I was working on. And I didn't read it, but my Mac version of Word has a option that lets you select text and send it to iTunes as a spoken track.
I did that. I had Alex read my book to me. Here's what I learned:
1. It is so painfully slow, you'll still need to invest in Rogaine. But that's kind of the whole point. When you read, your brain fixes things. You skim over things. Forcing yourself to read out loud -- or to listen -- is hard. So slow. I think it took something like 12 hours to read the whole book (yes it is really long too). (And now you know why I've been absent for a while...)
2. Using iTunes is awesome, because I can sync it with my iPod and put it in my car. So wherever I go -- and I basically drive everyone everywhere -- I can be working.
3. I found things I would have never discovered. I was sitting at my computer, following along one day, reading ahead of Alex. Next thing I know, he says "staking down her face." I was like, "Wait. What? Staking? That can't be right, I just read that..."
And you know what? Alex was right. I had switched the T and the K, and I didn't even notice. Like I said, our tricksy brains fix things like that.
So overall, I think the experience was very valuable. I had whole sections of the book that were redone, so they were basically a first draft. Listening to them helped me find the too-long sentences, the repeated words, the typos.
So there you have it. I can proudly say that after six years, I have finally read a book out loud as an editing tool!
Have you done this? Either read your work out loud as you're editing, or had the computer read it to you? What was your experience like?