It wasn’t until the fourth revision of Net Switch when I started to read the book aloud, and it made all the difference in the world. For those writers who haven’t read your written words aloud, I suggest you start. As we read, our minds can already put in words that might be missing without us even catching it. It isn’t until you read aloud that you realize something doesn’t work.
With my newest manuscript, I have found so much in revisions when I read it aloud. I am able to catch missing words, notice where it stops flowing, awkward dialogue, and believe it or not, wrong word usage. The one thing I didn’t expect to happen in reading aloud was it bringing out more personality in my characters. When I’m reading it aloud, I change my voice a bit to reflect the characters’ personality. This helps me stay focused on my characters’ personalities. It’s a great way to enhance character development.
As writers, we take bits and pieces of our life and incorporate it into our novels. I believe this is what makes our characters and stories come alive. Don’t get me wrong, a serial killer in a novel doesn’t mean the author is a serial killer, but there are parts of the author’s personality that brings the character to life. Maybe the author has a temper or knows how to keep secrets. Whatever it is, our characters grow because we have lived. Reading aloud is another dimension to giving our characters life. I can hear my characters in my head, so when I read aloud, their attitude and personality comes out. I can tweak and show off my characters more through description or dialogue.
I’m not losing my mind when I say I can hear my characters’ voices in my head. We all do it at one time or another. I’ve heard many of people say, “I can now hear my mother, telling me to…” It’s part of life, just like it is part of creating authentic characters; flawed characters struggling from self or another kind of infliction.
Like anything else in life, practice is important. Practicing the art of writing and realizing your mistakes are key in becoming a good, if not great writer. I suggest you add reading your manuscript aloud during revisions. You’ll learn so much more about your writing, your characters, and the story.
Do you read your works aloud? Do you have another revisions tip?
Reading aloud and Characters,