This month of daily writing advice will include tidbits, tips, and sometimes tricks. This isn’t a replacement for editing or book coaching, it’s meant as a jumping off point for exploration and thought! I hope it helps! ~Amy
HEARING YOUR OWN WORDS
I bet you’ve heard the advice to read your dialogue aloud to help hear if it’s realistic. Or to read all your words aloud to catch double words, awkward phrasing, cadence, pacing — it’s really a great general way to review your work at any stage of the writing process.
I’m going to suggest three ways to hear your own work that really work for me. Sometimes I follow along, and sometimes I close my eyes and just listen. I do this for one paragraph and I do it for a chapter. I haven’t listened to more than that because number 1 and 2 are computer-generated voices and I’m too lazy to read more than that for option 3.
- NATURAL READER has free software and a free app. There’s a limit on how many words it will read, but it’s easy to use and you do get a choice of computer voices. I couldn’t use this for long because it couldn’t pronounce BOOP, which is the name of one of my main characters! It spelled it out each time which really took a toll on me. But it might work for you!
- TEXT TO SPEECH on my MacBook Air. It’s true, I didn’t know this existed but it does. I enabled it (or maybe that’s the default, I forget), choose a voice and a speed, and then the hardest part was remembering the shortcut key strokes. For me, it’s ALT-ESC. All I do is highlight what I want read, hit ALT-ESC, and voila, my laptop reads to me. I just use the shortcut again if I want to stop it. Note, this method can’t pronounce Abe. It says Ah-bay, which is better then hearing B-O-O-P a thousand times.
- Even though most of us don’t like to listen to recordings of our own voices, that really works too! I’ve recorded myself on my phone and then played it back. Is it slightly mortifying? Sure, but there’s no one around but me. This is my least favorite option, but at least I can pronounce all the names in my book.
Any other suggestions?
See you tomorrow!